Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Family in the mud and African Wilddogs

Growing up in the wilds of northern Kenya, the travels of the family on small dirt roads have always remained as important family memories. On one occasion in the early eighties we had been visiting in a town about thirty kilometers from where we lived.

There had been a little rain, and the two track road had occasional spots filled with water. My dad had been missing most of them as we drove, but at one point my brother and I, keen for some fun, asked him to drive through a long track with water. The rain had filled the track, but not yet softened the ground in the middle. This meant that it was really easy to get stuck, with the middle of the car sitting on the harder ground. You guessed it, we got stuck.

There was no big issue with time, and we had some food in the vehicle. So when it got late we decided to spend the night in the car, in the puddle. It was my parents, my brother and I, my younger sister and a couple of people who worked with my parents. We cooked on a fire (without any pots or anything, it was somewhat challenging.) Not much light meant an early night.

The next morning we were up early. While we were busy getting the water away from the wheels by making little channels, a family of African Wild dogs ran up to behind the vehicle. We had a fright for a while, but soon they moved on from us. About three hundred meters on they killed a Dik Dik, and then moved on. This was such a special sighting, as we have never seen Wild dogs in the are since then.

We soon got out of the mud, with the help of a passing car, and made it home without any misshapes. To this day, this remains a special family memory.

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