Saturday, June 6, 2009

Day 9 - Visiting the Animal Reserve

6:30 PM

I had the day off so we did a little sight seeing. We were told of a animal preserve about 100 KM (55 miles) away. The trip took about 2 hours back over the road from hell. Lots of pot holes! Barry, the guy from South Africa, drives very fast and swerves to avoid the pot holes. The speed limit is posted at 80 KMH he hits 120-150 KMH. All the locals walk alone side the roads and he came close to hitting a couple.
I shouted "watch out people are on the road".
Barry replied "They will move. One less Kafka is OK".
On the return trip Jim drove back the pot holes were still there but the speed was less.

We had a great day at the animal farm when we finally got there. We didn't get to see many animals in the wild, a few monkeys, but that was all. The farm was started 50 years ago when a couple took pity on an abused chimp from Congo. They got a trust grant from the government for 99 years. Which sets aside 3,000 SQ KM for the protection of abused animals. The Congo and other African countries has a high poaching business. they kill the chimps and made ash trays out of their hands. Disgusting! They take the animals in from all around the world and care for them. The farm has chimps, birds, monkeys, hippo's etc. At the farm office a small monkey that had his mother shot took to us. Climbing and jumping all around. He got into my pockets, untied my shoes, played in our hair and when we left the farm he jumped into the car with us and didn't want to get out. Great time! The chimps are free to roam at their will in a large, large wild area. It's surrounded by an electrical fence 15 foot high to keep them in. Some are quite smart. A few would get a large log, lay it across the fence, climb over the fence and escape. If they were left to roam wild the locals would kill them. One chimp took a stick forced it under the fence wedged it up with a rock and got out under the fence. This chimp has to be keep in a special cage and not released into the compound area. A "BOSS" chimp didn't like us around watching them. He picked up a large stone threw it at the fence and just missed hitting myself, the rock bounced off Barry and hit Jim in the side. I got a great video of it. Jim has a good size bruise on his side. The farm has signs posted warring of the chimps throwing stones. I believe it now! Jacob one of the care takers stated Nick (the thrower) "That's the one that breaks many windshields out".

Last night at the bar Barry, Jim and I were siting around discussing the mine and today's work. We were joined by a couple of more South Africans also working at the mine.
After they had to many beers Barry said "You do a good job of training but you should not be so nice to the Kafka's".
I asked "What do you mean"?
"These people have to know who is in charge and who is superior". he replied. "You damn Americans, the way you treat the blacks is making it harder on the rest of the world". (Kind of like what happened in Tanzania last year.)
I got a little hot! I looked him straight in the eye and told him "If you people would treat them civil maybe you can get the work out of them that you bitch about all the time!"
The rest of the men got quite until I quit staring him down. Nothing else was said on that subject the rest of the night. I do not understand why the South African whites think they are so much better that the rest of the world. Jim or I would be talking to someone else and they will just interrupt and starting talking about something different. Of course the drinking of the beer brought out his true feelings. As I've said "If you want to hear the truth ask a kid or a drunk." We had a great day and Barry keep the racial remarks to a minimum.

Attached are great pictures of the animal farm.

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