The locust, the beetle and the rabbit, bedtime stories for Berit because she just had a birthday

Berit children have eyes to see, they see truth and dream so clearly. And for that reason and you had a birthday I am writing you a bedtime story.  I’ve noticed especially bright eyes and thirsty minds often don’t want bedtime or the lights out so here is a tale to dream about.

Imagine you are setting off on the most wonderful adventure. You are with me and we are in Africa. Uganda to be exact we are heading toward Murchison Falls National Park. You’ll want to keep an eye out for the cows!

It’s hot and we have driven all day from the city of Kampala to be on the savanna just at the end of day, the best time for lion sighting. Twilight is the most magical time of day when the last bit of light decided to run off to some other place in the world to wake the children there.

We set off in our Safari van with our Safari guide Sam and driver to see the famous king of the SAVANNA, the African lion, he was battle scared and proud.

We saw his young cubs in a field playing and lounging. On our way back from the many fantastic sightings was when it happened.  It was a bumpy winding dirt road with all the activity of preparing for night when we came up on a mama lioness hunting with two cubs in the dark at night and just after we saw her it happened and the fright started for me.

First off Berit, it was getting darker and darker. And nope it wasn’t the sound of some warthogs. Ber it wasn’t the thieves of the tourists we always see, bold baboons snatching items and running off with their stolen goods (and you should know Ber they haven’t stolen any of my goods). THANKFULLY.

It wasn’t the time Brooke yelled Fight! Fight! Fight! AND the giraffes listened and started slapping each other with their long necks and running in front of the road we were on. And it wasn’t the enthusiastic elephants protecting their baby and blasting their trunks and tusks our way creating a blockade on the road. That mama almost did charge. Nope it wasn’t the schools of zebras, tough rhinos, graceful gazelles, hungry hyenas feasting on lion leftovers. And it wasn’t the one lazy leopard lounging far off in a high tree. Ber do you know who scared me the most?

Well like I said it was getting dark and you should know while on safari you can stand up and get fresh air. You look about through the roof and can even sit on top of the van while the driver drives on. There are no seatbelts it’s sort of like the rules when you ride a bus or ride in a boat.

And because I’ve been boating and swallowed a bug I had my mouth closed to avoid eating the night time insects when smack! I was hit! Hard, just below the shoulder. It felt like someone threw a golf ball at me and I know what that feels like having been hit by a golf ball before.

I yelled loud enough the driver stopped the van. We grabbed our phones to see who or what hit me. It was the biggest flying dung beetle. Dung is another name for poop and it sure looked shell shocked to have collided. He was upside down on the floor of the van just by my feet. He was most likely flying in search of some new poo pile to land in when it happened.

After accidents happen you just have to move forward. The removal job was mine mainly because I was the team leader and no one else wanted to touch the dung beetle. It seemed simple return the dung beetle to his habitat. However he was one of the toughest insects for me to approach with my bare hands. I kept reaching for him and drawing my hand back like he was a hot stove. Berit his six legs were wiggling and the horns on his head sticking out and he lives in a house of poop, would you grab him barehanded? I needed a solution. Baby wipes. Yes Ber baby wipes come in so handy in Africa. Not many latrines have toilet paper. A latrine is a term for hole in the ground. Ask your mom or dad if you are curious.

So I grabbed one baby wipe and threw it over the beetle and quickly without thinking grabbed the beetle wrapped in the baby wipe and threw him overboard. He landed on those 6 legs and crawled away. I took a deep breath and looked out to see if any lions were near by. Should I get out and retrieve the baby wipe? What do you think Ber?

The savanna hare would have done it. This rabbit hops around like there is no danger when there is plenty of danger. It searches for food and on occasion eats mushrooms. Do you like mushrooms? And guess what it also eats poop.  It’s own poop. Yuck. So naturally I thought perhaps I’ll leave the baby wipe there and stay safe in the van you never know who’s hunting at night. Let the rabbit take all the risks, right?

The beetle and his ball of poo

The fright was enough blood pumping for me. I sat down to lessen the chances of another insect coming out of nowhere to attack. AND THEN we got back to our hotel and another fright happened. It wasn’t the largest locust I have ever seen perched along the outdoor hallway. He was the bait the late night snack drawing in our next predator. Who do you think it was?

Berit it was the “hangry” (a term for so hungry your angry) bat diving for our heads as we ran to our rooms to change for our late dinner. Swooping down at us swiftly out of nowhere and all I could think was he will get stuck in my wind blown humid hair! Maggie and I ran down the outdoor hallway zigged at the stairs and ran again. And the bat kept up! Swoopin and scaring us all the way to our door. We put the key in and turned the lock and ducted in safe! What a night we will never forget.

Well sleep well, Ber

Lion cub hugs, Charity

lion cubs at night

And if you are reading this and you are not Berit, but the one you are reading it too is younger than 99 well just substitute their name.

I can think of some names that I know would work just fine. Jane is one of them. William is another.

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