Thursday October 21, 2010 | Transfrontier Africa | Michael Scholl

Thursday October 21, 2010

Dear Diary,

This morning I woke up at around 5.30 a.m, because Solange wanted me to wake up to see the sun rise. As much as I love sunrises, I couldn’t get myself to stand up. First of all, I was tired, second of all, my camera had no batteries, third of all, I still have 8 more days here, I am sure I will catch the sun rise one of those days. So I stayed in bed and the next thing I remember is waking up and seeing Elene standing in our bunk. The first thing she said was that goosy was attacking her and so she couldn’t take a shower. I found it quite funny that Elena who is 10 times his size couldn’t stand up to a mongoose. Solange got up and said she would go with her, so that she could help keep goosy away. I smiled at that thought and then tried to go to sleep again, but failed, so I read for an hour or so.

Around 8.00 a.m I went out to see if anyone else was already up and I found solange and Elena at the table. I sat down with them and then the next thing I know someone notices something that had the shape of a dead snake on the roof. Elena and Solange wanted to get it down, but I was against it, because I am terrified of snakes. No terrifed isn’t a strong enough word. Terrified multipled by petrified and add a bit of scared to that and that would be equal to how much I love snakes. Even writing the word snake disgusts me and gives me shivers down the spine, so from now on I will refer to ‘it’ as ‘it’ The others weren’t as scared as I was though, so they got a long stick to get it of the roof. The moment it fell down, I backed away, and shrieked when I saw the long twisty shape of ‘it’, even though i knew it was coming. The worst part is that it turned out to be a plastic snake that the rangers put on the roof to scare animals and in consequence, me. It was actually quite funny when Michael pointed out that it was made out of plastic, because Elena and Solange were looking at it and analysing how a dead snake looked like. Michael only had to glance at the plastic toy to be able to say that it was fake. Then Elena wanted to scare Hugo with the snake, so when he came from his bunk we told him that we had seen a snake with black lines on it’s back and that it was a very poisonous snake, so we should be really carefull. Hugo just nodded but wasn’t really frightened until Elena came up behind him with the snake and threw it over his neck. His reaction was hilarious! He didn’t scream but his body made a starnge jerk to get it of him and the look on his face was just unforgettable. A look of surprise and scaredness in one.After that joke we got some breakfast and I sat down to read from my book Remember Me. There is this one paragraph in the book that really marked me. In the book, the girl just died and she asks one of the most common questions: Why me? And her counselor in the after life tells her that at the beginning of your life you are given a certain amounts of breaths and it is your choice the way you use/spend them. Then the counsellor compared life like paying up your debt. You take out a certain amount of money out of the bank and you can give the money back slowly or quickly. When you are done paying your debt, it’s like you are done with your amounts of breaths taken. I really liked this part, because to me it means that the way you live your life and how long is your choice. You are given the basics, but what you make of it will depend on you. I read an hour or two, while I was waiting for us to go and repair the fence. At the end, we didn’t go, because they said that there were too many animals surrounding the fence, which would make it dangerous for us to go. Instead we took the girl ranger up on her offer, and we went to her pool. I have to say that I was so gratefull for that pool because even though I try to shower, you never get very clean. For all of us, that pool was like a huge bathtub. Amy, the girl ranger, didn’t mind though and she laughed when we said that if Craig and John come into the pool, the water will turn muddy. Elena and Solange didn’t go that long in the pool, but I stayed in it for what seemed to me a long time. The cold water against my skin and the clean smell of the chlore was like heaven to me. I had also drank already 3 glasses of tap water, because the water in our camp had a very strange taste that I can’t really describe. The sensation you get while swimming is incredible. When you put your head under water, all sounds are drowned out and all you can hear is the water around you. Being under water is so calm, but when you stick your head out of the water the calmness is still there, although supressed. After having swam a few laps I decided to get out to, and since I was quite tired I decided to lie down in the couch, next to Elena. The next thing I remember is Michael waking Elena and me up and saying that he was sorry, but there was a big herd of elephants that you could see from the balcony. Elena and I both  made our way towards the balcony, but sadly the elephants had moved on and we could only see a trunk or two. Craig and John had the idea to go with the truck and follow them, so that’s what we did. Amy came to and she told us that earlier she had seen a herd of 40 elephants, which is an extroardinary big number. We started following them, and we got quite a few good shots of them, but none were close enough to identify. We had only seen about 5 but there was a good chance that there were others further, but we decided not to check because the roads were impossible to go on, see non existant and so we made our way back to the pool. When we came back, we ate macaroni with tuna. It is needless to say that it tasted amazing. 

After eating, I went back into the pool, although I know that you shouldn’t after having filled your stomach. I swam around a bit more and then Elena came with some water guns she found and started fighting with Craig. At the end Elena got pushed in the pool with her pants on and Craig was soaking wet. The next fight was between Michael and me, and I have to say that I won (okay, maybe not, but I think that since he’s older he had an advantage and he is a shark specialist, so water is like his second home).

Not long after that, Craig and John anounced we had to go back and so we thanked Amy and went back to our sleeping place. Before we left, Amy told us we could go back tomorrow and so we gladly accepted and thanked her again. 

When we got back to the camp site, they told us to drop of our things and that then we would go to look for elephants. Craig didn’t come with us, which was a shame, since I think the guy is one of the funniest people I have ever met. It didn’t take us long before we found a big pack of animals. There were atleast 17 animals, including 3 adorable baby elephants. It was of course at that moment that my camera decided that he had no battery left and so I couldn’t take any pictures! The best part was when we saw two elephants fighting. It was really interesting, because they fight to show dominance and to do that they twist their trunks around each other. After a few minutes the fight stopped and we could cleary see who the winner was because the loser was backing aways as if it was saying I give up. When their fight was over we decided to get down to work, so John gave us Elephant identifying sheets and this time it went much easier then yesterday. I could usualy distinguish a male from a female, if it was in must, how tame it was and it’s size. The age for me was still impossible to guess though and so each time would ask John. At the end, we were able to identify 5 elephants correctly. We spend a good hour there, but at the end it started getting quite dark so we couldn’t see a lot, so then we went back. At the camp site, it was already very dark and so we started making dinner immediately, by starting a fire. Then I went to get my guitar so I could practice playing, and I have to say that I am getting better. We had dinner shortly after that and then I went to my room to tell you what happened. Although it is quite early, I am going to go to sleep. I don’t know why, Diary, but I am always so tired here. Sleep tight Diary.

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

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