South of the equator, apart from water spinning in the opposite direction, counterclockwise, down a drain, in the heart of summer, contrary to us in Ontario, the further north you go, the shorter the daylight hours.
In Focus is a segment that will feature Cochranites that have acheived high standards in their choosen field. Whether at home or abroad, here is where we recognize the great people that were born, raised or have lived in or around Cochrane.
The "big five" (lion, buffalo, elephant, rhino, leopard) is a term used by early European trophy hunters, now utilized by modern visitors as they check off their personal "bucket list". Most African parks are, however, so much more than this with a veritable smorgasbord of stimuli for all senses, well worth the time regardless of country.
Street stalls and the thought of consuming any food prepared in these rudimentary, often filthy looking shacks, would probably seem distateful to most. However, on closer inspection, you quickly realize that the rapid turnover of ingredients, combined with the searing heat from the charcoal embers in the metal drum make for a safe meal that even our local health unit might approve. Fried grasshoppers are readily available at many street stalls. They are a cheap form of nutrition and a great source of fiber.
When tenting within or near African National Parks, it is not a great idea to drink a lot of anything just prior to bedtime. The "jungle latrine" always seems more distant in total darkness, with hyenas "laughing" and other assorted grunts in the background. It is one of nature's great mysteries how Carolle can control the urge until dawn. When a real toilet bowl is available, many times the seat is either non-existent, so badly damaged or dirty, that the desperate become "porcelain jockeys" with both feet on the floor or, believe it or not, standing on top of each side of the rim. In these cases, you are better off with a simple squatter's hole in the floor.
We spent the two week Africa-Canada-Africa transition in a surreal state of dream-like suspended animation. Our bodies were asking us "what just happened", as our circadian rhythms/biological clocks went into hyper-distress mode causing turmoil with sleep, digestion emotions etc. As pleasant as it was to experience the luxuries of the Canadian lifestyle, including family/friends contact, the solemn reminder of our return's purpose brought us quickly back down to earth. With fingers crossed, we do not wish a repeat performance.
Road and bus conditions aside, longer rides are rendered even more intolerable by the fact that, even with no air conditioning, the locals refuse to open the windows regardless of heat (40 plus degrees) and cramped quarters. What we, as Canucks, would consider a potential cooling breeze is often referred by Ethiopians as an "ill wind", responsible for disease!
The level of desperation among the youth and adults alike is such that you will be pursued, at times from sunrise to sunset for the perceived faintest hope of earning the equivalent of 5 cents for pointing you in the right direction, carrying your backpack or fetching a bottle of water.