My African Adventure
Part 3, the Walking Safari
By John L. Fuhring


     The coffee was drunk and Paul put all the stuff away, our little rest was over.  We exited Paul's house, the door was locked and we continued our tour.   After leaving the house, we continued to climb until it was too steep for people to build houses, but, even on these steep slopes, there were crops growing.  The narrow track we were using wouldn't allow nor did it show any sign of farm machinery or even farm animals.  It was pretty obvious that all the cultivating here was done completely by hand tools.


Views of the countryside

     For some reason, I forgot to bring along my GPS receiver so I didn't get elevation fixes.  I could have just kicked myself for not having it along because it would have been interesting to know the elevations where the vegetation and farming practices changed.  Anyway, we climbed higher up the slopes until we reached a forest region.  The climb was a little tiring for the little old fat guy, but I kept up pretty well.

     The forest is owned by the Government and the people are not allowed to grow crops in it.  A certain amount of wood and other forest products are allowed to be exploited, but only to a limited extent.  Paul brought me up there to show me the sights which he hope would include the wild monkeys that lived up there.  The forest monkeys must have been at the "Simian Forest Users Group" meeting all morning, so we never got to meet any.

Forest trail.

     Paul and I hiked east and down slope along the trail for a mile or two so he could show me some more views of this beautiful place.

     We then hiked along another trail that led up up slope and to the west (above and parallel to were we had come).  Finally we started to descend into another part of the agricultural zone.  We stopped off at a couple of places that were Paul's favorite spots as a child.  He said that these were places that were good for a rest and to think about things for a while.

A quiet spot for resting and thinking.

Looking down on farm fields and buildings.

     We descended into a more populated area and I rested on a bench near a native school (not in session) while Paul took care of some business in a building nearby.  All these little native kids started coming around and were as pleased and excited to see me as they could possibly be.  They sure were a lovable bunch of kids and I did sneak a picture of them.  The only english they knew was the ubiquitous "good morning teacher" which they would repeat over and over again and I would answer back "good morning class" to their great delight.  I'm certainly no medical doctor, but looking at these kids closely I could see skin and eye infections that some of these kids had.  Just a few cents worth of medicine and a few minutes of attention was all that was needed to treat these kids.  It made me feel badly that these kids had those untreated conditions and it was unlikely they would get any treatment anytime soon - if ever.

Darling little kids.
Their only English was "Good Morning Teacher"
I would answer "Good Morning Class" which really delighted them.

     I was thinking about something.  I noticed that the adults all appear very well groomed and didn't appear to have skin or eye infections.  This is probably due to the fact that kids are naturally more prone to that sort of thing, their immune systems are still developing and kids being kids, were into all kinds of dirty things.  It is probably also true that adults take better care of themselves than they do the kids.  Man, that sounds pretty cold, but listen for a minute.  In our very, very rich society we can afford to put a lot of resources into kids - we don't put as much as we can afford all the time and that's a moral failing on our parts - in my opinion.  In societies that are so very much poorer, they instinctually know that if the adults don't survive, neither will the kids and if some in the community can't make it during an ecological, political or economic emergency, the adults must be the ones to survive in order to have more young when conditions improve.  By our standards, it appears to me that these people aren't as "good" to their kids as many of us would like to see them, but they are as good as their society can afford.  By that standard, they are more moral than a people (such as ourselves) who could do better, but don't.  That make any sense?  Oh well, just more of my ravings.

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