Mischief at Peter’s Place

My welcome home!
My welcome home!

While the landlady is away, the landlord comes out to play. As the always classy and regal Honorary Consul is jetting off to visit family in far off lands, there is no one here to keep evil prankster Peter in line.

Although Jetske had only be gone for a total of 24 hours yesterday afternoon, I returned to my apartment to find my private terraced adorned with the sign pictured above. One can only conjecture what the true intent for its temporary placement was. Previous experience with the prankster makes me believe that it was an indication that anyone entering Bird Cottage (Apartment #2) needed to beware of the evil beast that lives within 🙂

Because Dottie could never be considered to be the evil beast, although the other night she threw herself at my closed door with such force I thought that I was being visited by a baboon.

The guilty offender and Dottie
The guilty offender and Dottie

Clearly, I need to reciprocate Peter’s efforts and don’t worry as I have plenty of time to do so as Jetske is out of country for another week. I am sure that the next week will be full of one up-manship and there are no safe bets as to who the winner might be.

Having Jetske away also means that I have even more constant companionship from my four legged friends. As noted above, Dottie has been forcibly knocking on my door in the evening. My friend Gabby also believes in lots of togetherness as evidenced by this picture.

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Let’s hope that whoever takes up residence in Bird Cottage after me won’t mind sharing the tiny space….perhaps I need to leave a note instructing them when I depart Peter’s Place to never leave the windows open as intruders have been known to sneak through very tiny cracks.

This is who I want to snuggle

Teenagers on the Moreson Ranch
Teenage White Lion cubs on the Moreson Ranch in South Africa

Jetske sent this picture to me this morning just to make me insanely jealous. Quite frankly, I just want to be rolling around playing with them and having a good old snuggle with one in my lap 🙂

Jetske is currently in South Africa visiting with her family. While there she stays with her sister and her husband who own and run the Moreson Ranch http://www.moresonranch.co.za/. This spectacular ranch offers lots of activities including a Lion Camp, where you can get up close to lion cubs.

You can bet that there is no way possible that I am ever going to leave Sub-Sahara Africa without cuddling a lion, even if it is a baby!

Buche and Lawrence, I don’t care how dangerous you think it is….I am doing it one way or another!

Facilitating in the Bush

I am currently trying to figure out how to add my experience from last weekend in the bush to my resume. How does one actually capture the unique challenges and skills adaptation that one has to make when you are literally facilitating in the bush????

Perhaps after reading this entry you will have some suggestions for my resume update!

Saturday morning started early for me after the late night. But it started in an amazing way that can only be experienced in the bush. I got up and opened my bedroom door at shortly after 5 am so I could watch the animals come to the watering hole to begin their day. And come they did.

Following a very cold shower, no shampoo and an attempt to wash my very fine hair with a bar of soap, it was time to head to the dining room/workshop facility.

Outside view of the meeting room
Outside view of the meeting room

As you can see, not a wall in sight! A facilitator’s nightmare for sure. Plus, there was only one electrical outlet and the only power you could access was if you actually requested them to turn on the generator. The next hour was spent figuring out how to actually proceed for the day based on the resources (or lack there of) available.

As I usually one capable of thinking quickly on my feet, I came up with a Plan B that I thought would work. I also had the wonderful assistance of Lawrence and the Kuru ladies to assist with set up. The next hurdle was that the meeting was scheduled to begin at 8:00 am. Remember that this building was also the dining area for the lodge and campers. Breakfast was served at 8:00 am…you get the picture. I was caught between trying to grab some breakfast and greeting those arriving for the strategic planning session. So it was a slightly stressful start to the day for me to say the least.

After downing a yoghurt and a bit of granola, it was time for the facilitator to do her job! Due to the language issue, I had planned on a large part of the strategic planning work to be done in groups so there would be less need to translate back and forth between the languages. However, I had counted on the use of laptops to record the group decisions so that report back could be faster and require less translation….but all of that had to be re-thought based on the facility and lack of power.

Oh well, when facilitating in the bush one works with what one has. After a quick welcome and brief explanation of the process for the day, we were off and running with strategic planning!

Strategic Planning under way
Strategic Planning under way
Group work under way!
Group work under way!
Proving that break out groups can work anywhere!
Proving that break out groups can work anywhere!
Giving new meaning to working in the bush!
Giving new meaning to working in the bush!

Thankfully, Bush people are happy to work under any conditions so all were happy to spread out far and wide to find spaces to tackle their assignments, coming back under the main roof for report backs and instructions for the next task. All in all, the progress was remarkable and far exceeded my expectations. In fact, I don’t think that I have ever worked with a more diligent group who whole-heartedly embraced their assignments once explained to them through a translator. Even without the access to resources, we were progressing right on schedule. Recognizing the need to keep momentum going, I constantly adapted each of the assignments and kept the agenda moving.

Obviously, our team work and good spirits attracted attention. About mid-morning our strategic planning group received three additional participants who stuck around for at least an hour and distracted not only me but just about everyone else with their antics!

This could only happen in the bush!
This could only happen in the bush!

I have now been facilitating or participating in workshops and had warthogs, baboons and ostriches drop by for a visit. Please tell me how I could ever reflect this on my resume????

These ostriches actually stuck around for a long time, entertaining us with their dances and even settling in for a bit of a nap in the fire pit approximately two feet from the building. Perhaps they would be interested me in coming out to facilitate for them 🙂

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Proof of a good day's work
Proof of a good day’s work

Wildlife Survival Tips

For regular readers of this blog, I am sure that you are now well aware that wild animals are known to roam everywhere here in Botswana, be it city, village or game reserve. So far on my stay in Botswana I have encountered an elephant in the yard of a house, warthogs and baboons who wander through meetings, and geckos in my bed to name a few.

During my trip to Zanzibar, Botswana I received the following wildlife survival tips from my colleagues even though where we were staying seemed relatively safe:

  1. Never walk alone because if you get eaten no one will realize it for a couple of days.
  2. Don’t talk to the crocodiles.
  3. If you encounter an elephant don’t run and never climb a tree.
  4. (My Favourite) Tips for outrunning a water buffalo:
    1. If you have a purse throw it at them and then run as fast as you can
    2. When running away from it get on to a tarmac surface
    3. And run in a zig zagging motion. Apparently, because of their soft hooves they will lose their footing and fall down….who knew it????
    4. You can’t out run a hippo, so find a tree to climb and hope that there is no elephant coming behind the hippo 😉
    5. Never ever hug a lion!

Certainly interesting tips! I will need to keep them in mind for my next adventures as the closest I got to wildlife this time around was an incredibly cheeky monkey who was more interested in what I was doing than anything else. As I roamed around on my walks he followed me overhead watching everything that I was doing. It was a bit like having a shadow except I was nervous about it peeing on me! In fact, one time he almost landed on my head as he leapt from tree to tree trying to keep up to me. The joys of nature.

A very cheeky monkey
A very cheeky monkey