Friday October 29, 2010 | Transfrontier Africa | Michael Scholl

Friday October 29, 2010

Dear Diary,

Today was probably the best day. Well at least the beginning. I woke up this morning feeling great, as if I had never been sick, except for the persistant cough. I had a normal breakfast, I sat down and laughed with the others. Everything was going well! While sitting with the others, I learned that John, Elena, Solange, Hugo and I would go on our last game drive, while Emilio, Michael and Craig would go and fill up the water tank. I felt bad that Michael and Emilio couldn’t see for the last time the animals, but they didn’t seem to disapointed when they left. Not long after they left, we also got on to the range rover, with my computer, because since the beginning of the trip we had been annoying John with Justin Bieber songs and my computer had some of his songs, because of my little sister. We left the camp and we drove for a long time without seeing any animals, so we decided to change the mood by putting on music. The moment the Justin Bieber song started playing, John stopped the car and told us he wasn’t going further unless the music stopped. We paused it, laughing at his surprise, and we kept on driving. There was a moment we stopped at the entrance gate to fill up our water bottles at the tap, and then I asked John if I could sit in the tracker seat. The tracker seat is the one that is at the front of the truck, where the tracker sits, hence the name, and looks out for animals. John told me I could and so I sat on the tracker seat. The tracker seat was quite scary to sit in since the only safety you have is the handles next to you that you have to hold on to. When there was a bump, the truck would move abruptly and if you aren’t holding on, you would be thrown of and land under the land rovers wheels. We had been riding a while next to the electric fence, that keeps the animals in, when all of a sudden Hugo yells that we have to stop the car. John obeys thinking it was important and Hugo jumps out and collides with the fence. We all look scared at Hugo to see if he was all right, because that fence could put someone out cold for a while. He looked fine when he picked up his cigarette that he had let fall on the ground. That was why we had stopped. For his cigarette. John explained to him how lucky he was to not have been hurt, but Hugo didn’t seem to understand his chance. He hadn’t been shocked because the fence shocked once every two seconds, and Hugo had touched the fence just the second that the fence had no electricity. After we got over the shock (nice word play there), we laughed about the event together and we kept on riding. It wasn’t long after that, that the car all of a sudden made a strange noise. John stopped to check it out and he told us something mechanical, that I could not explain to you dear Diary, but the main part was that it meant we couldn’t go up any hills anymore. We wanted to go and have lunch at the river, where we had lunch our first day here, but the problem with the range rover made it impossible to get there, so we stopped next to an old bridge. We walked to the middle of it and sat down with the cooler box. Inside the cooler box there was pasta in a pot that John had made earlier, but for some odd reason the pot was completely stuck. Everybody tried pulling at it, but finaly it was Hugo who opened it, probably because he was so incredibly hungry! We all ate from the pasta except John, who couldn’t since he was a vegetarian and the pasta had sausage. Instead he took out a can of tuna, and then realised that he left his pocket knife in the car. Since he couldn’t be bothered getting his knife, he started hitting the tin can against a rock. It was a lost cause! Everyone was looking at him, amused at how he was trying to open his can, until Solange couldn’t take it anymore and she went to get the knife. When she came back, he could finaly open his can, and eat in peace. The sun was out and I had noticed that I was still as white as when I had arrived about 10 days ago. I laid down on the bridge, but not even 5 minutes later John told me to get up, because we were continuing our safari. I sat again on the tracker seat, but I have to admit that I didn’t see a lot. I saw a butterfly, a chacal and a few giraffes. Since we didn’t see anything, we stopped the range rover and Elena turned on my computer to put on some music. We listened for a while, but we restarted the car after, because we really wanted to see animals. It was around this time that I started to feel quite cold, so I asked John if I could sit back in my earlier seat, since I would be better protected from the wind. He stopped the car and I sat down next to Elena. I was still cold after that so Elena gave me her sweater, since she wasn’t using it. Then solange gave me her sweater, but I was still freezing. Solange asked then if I could sit in the seat next to the driver, since that was the warmest place. As thankful as I was to them, I was still cold after that. We took a break again, because there was nothing interesting to see, and again Elena turned on my computer, but this time she clicked on slideshow of my pictures I had taken there. We put the computer on the hood of the range rover and we looked at the pictures. The atmosphere was great and we all laughed at some pictures. We had actually seen animals that day, because in the slideshow there were elephants and rhinos. During our break, the sun had gone down, so after we went back to camp. When we arrived, I was still cold and I just laid down in the long chair, the moment I could. Emilio checked my forehead and he could feel that I had fever. They didn’t understand how I could still be sick! I was supposed to be recovered by now, but my forehead was saying the contrary. I could see that Michael and Emilio were worried, and I felt so guilty, but I couldn’t reassure them. I fell asleep after that Emilio gave me something against fever and when I woke up, I heard that Craig was talking to the others, asking them what they thought of this whole trip. I went to also sit down next to the fire, as I was feeling slightly better. Craig was telling us that, although he didn’t get to know us as well as he could have, he really liked us and that he was sorry that we had to leave. We were all really touched and I could see that everyone was upset that we were leaving, including me. It was getting late though, so I went back to the cabin to write in you Diary. Tomorrow we are leaving! I can’t believe it! It seems just yesterday that we arrived.

written by Diane Danneels (International Baccalaureate IB Class of 2012 student)

© / Michael Scholl Copyright 2012 for TransFrontier Africa and Craig Spencer