Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 11, 2012

My birthday/Easter get-away was wonderful! On Saturday morning, Ausi Mathabo, Tiisetso and Tseliso came to my mokhoro with a birthday present. Their mother, visiting from somewhere in South Africa, came with a typical Basotho water goblet and six matching glasses.
In the eyes of an American, it wouldn't be considered the treasure that it is…but knowing where it came from, I was so touched. Their mom must have spent quite a bit of her hard-earned maluti on that water set; it’s a glass set, painted gold and black…very fancy…very unlike anything treasured in America…and it’s something I shall always treasure!

Later that morning I met Andrea and we left for Bloemfontein, South Africa. We arrived in Bloem in the mid-afternoon, found a place to stay and then went to a huge mall where we ate, ate and ate some more! It was heavenly to have so many choices of food and drink. We were going to catch an early evening movie, but we were too stuffed and tired from all that eating. We went back to our bed-and-breakfast and vegged out in front of the T.V. I actually took the prize this time for T.V. watching; Andrea fell asleep while I watched “Shark Tale” from beginning to end (I think I was just so excited about our planned excursion for the next day that I couldn’t fall asleep)!
In the morning we were ready to eat some more!!
Then we headed for the Cheetah Experience…and what an experience it was!
The place is run by volunteers of various ages, all animal lovers. The owner is a woman who gave up a career as a doctor to follow her dream of rescuing wild cats. We didn’t get to meet her, but the volunteers spoke so much and so highly of her that I felt as though we had.

Let’s see…we saw:

Cheetahs-babies, adolescents and adults

I learned that the easiest way to distinguish a cheetah from a normal spotted leopard is by looking at the face; the face of the cheetah has two black lines running from the inside corners of the eyes to the nose. This helps to block some of the sun's brightness.
The normal spotted leopard doesn't have these lines; he does, however have a necklace of spots around the bottom of the neck.
Also, the cheetah's hind legs are much longer than his front legs. This enables him to pick up speed quickly and jump very high.
If you look closely at a black leopard, you will be able to see that he, too, has spots!!!

Oh, I forgot to say that the cheetah's tail is exceptionally long; it is used for balancing when turning a corner at high speed. There was a tail-less cheetah at the place (very tame adult) who was rescued by the owner after the mother tried to kill it the first day of its stop it from suffering because of its lack of a tail.


The meerkat is as small as a domestic cat and just as cute! He loves to constantly trying to dig things up...will even dig on your pants leg if you let him!

Leopards-young and old, spotted and black (there is no difference in the black species; it’s just like one of us being born with red hair, etc.-except more rare)

Lions-young and old, white and regular (just like the leopards with color)

The first picture is of two babies taken away from their mother at birth because she had no milk. In two previous pregnancies she also had no milk. The first pregnancy, the babies died before the rehab. center could figure out what was going on.

The other lion cubs range from 2 to 6 months old...all very friendly. We were able to go into their compound and touch and play with them!
The one playing with his paws stole my heart.
The last picture shows a young male white lion who had to be castrated because of some life-and-death problems. Although he is almost a year now, he will not grow a normal mane because of the castration.

Can you imagine how hard it was to leave without one of these creatures???? But I am so thankful that they ended up in this sanctuary.

Caracals-young and older
Servals-young and older
I am so sorry to say that in the excitement of holding the young servals, I forgot to take their pictures!
They look a lot like tiny cheetahs or leopards...smaller and softer looking fur with a combination of spots and black and white lines down their backs...and long, pointed ears very much like those of the caracal.

And finally, believe it or not, two wolves from Canada!
I was so impressed with the way the place was run…there wasn’t a lot of money, but everything was clean, spacious, and handled with love and care. Most of the animals we saw had either been rescued or born in captivity. The young ones were all tame enough to handle; we were not allowed to touch the older ones…just because they ARE wild. Most of the volunteers, however have such a good rapport with all the older animals, that they can enter their enclosures without fear of being harmed.
If anyone is looking for a good cause for a donation, here’s the place!!
Sunday evening Andrea and I enjoyed “The Lorax” in the mall’s theatre (after eating, of course)!
We left Bloemfontein Monday morning and headed for Lesotho. It was a great mini-vacation. On Tuesday, I made a HUGE chocolate cake with fudge icing for ‘M’e Mathabo’s 58th birthday.
We surprised her with it in the evening…not a piece was left to save!!
The final two shots are of 'M'e Mathabo's birthday party; in the second picture she is happily singing to herself while we eat our cake!!!

There is no further news about my electricity project; we know that the electricians were negotiating some prices for the outside cables…the last thing to be done before inspection. Hopefully, we shall hear something tomorrow.
Maria (winter) has set in early this year. This morning I wore a winter coat, boots, etc. to school. Usually, the heavy dressing doesn’t start until May!!!

1 comment:

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