Friday, December 08, 2006

Wild Animals Nearby. Thursday evening, after our visit to the hospital, we walked to the “SuperDuka”, a little grocery store, about a fourth the size of the average US convenience store. It is down the hill from RVA and just beyond the AIC church we attended on Sunday. Nathan was behind the counter, just to the left as you walk in. He is an elder in the church and did the Kikuyu translation on Sunday as Pastor Simon preached. We went there to purchase some Christmas wrapping paper (he had two tiny rolls in stock) and we also bought ourselves a “Stony”, which is Kenyan ginger ale that comes in bottles. It is a Coca-Cola product, according to the bottles. We asked Nathan to open the bottles, intending to drink them on the walk back up the hill, but instead we stood there sipping them as we talked to Nathan. We discovered that he is a good source of local news, and he told us of wild animals nearby, an elephant and a leopard.

The elephant was in the forest not far from RVA. The forest must be some sort of protected area, because there are little farms everywhere else, but none there. Nathan told us that two women were in the forest getting wood (he said this disapprovingly). They came on an elephant, who picked up one woman with his trunk and flung her about, killing her. It injured the other woman badly, but she survived and is in the AIC hospital.

The leopard is hanging around the little farms, called “shambas”. No one has seen the leopard, but it kills in a distinctive way, and people have found its kills, mainly sheep. The sheep are penned up at night, but this is no problem for the leopard, Nathan said. The leopard comes into the pen, grabs the neck of the sheep in its jaws, and then tosses it out of the pen. He then rips open the throat and laps up the blood. It eats no more of the sheep, but just leaves the carcass there for the people to find the next morning. They immediately recognize it as leopard kill.

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