It’s a small world. “Never say anything bad about anyone.” That’s my motto. Or should be.
At Jill’s boudoir scrabble the Monday before I left for Africa, Amy shared the story about a park in Africa where the lodge was built in front of of the best mangoes. No problem for the elephants. During mango season they sashay through the lobby to the mangoes. Cute story. Didn’t think more about it.
Couple days later Amy sent around a “forward”, containing pictures of elephants in reception. Amazing. Shared the story with Dave Neiswander, Africa director of World Bicycle Relief.
“That’s where we’re going!” he said of Mfuwe Lodge.
Wowza. Suddenly I became much more interested in mangoes. “They’re in the stores,” said Kristin, “But green. Not ripe until next month.” Darn.
Big day on arrival. We’d been on a micro-finance jaunt, meeting with lenders, seeing a couple of clients, riding WBR bikes, and then flying up to Mfuwe and 45 minute drive to the lodge.
So would be nice to stay put for a few days. Along with explanations….”you MUST have an escort to your room after dark.” There were extra precautions about the elephants. “They were here a couple days ago, checking out the mangoes. But they’re not ripe yet.”
Chains go up to keep us back if the elephants come inside. There are spotters around the lodge so everyone knows what’s happening…lots of baboons, ungulates of many varieties, even lion are known to come on the property.
If elephants enter we’re allowed to stay in reception, but stay quiet and BEHIND THE COUNTER. They are still wild animals, huge elephants, despite their comfort in our surroundings, which of course are really THEIR surroundings. Occasionally one will pick up a key, drop it when realizes it’s not edible. “One even rang the bell one time,” said Onecious. Click here to watch a video. Here to see baby Wellington’s first visit.
A few minutes after arrival, Host Dominique and I are chatting about the lodge in general and elephants in particular. He’s been here three months, taking a gap year between high school and university. He got the job by—
“EXCUSE ME,” Dominque dashes off.
There are the elephants. And a couple of guests moving in as if to pet them.