26EA79BC-9F8C-4A90-B494-998393390A0B.jpegWhenever Mrs BYF goes to Africa she brings me an artwork depicting an animal that is special to me. This year she brought me a carving of a meerkat. A small sentinel that now stands on the window sill beside my desk, keeping a keen lookout for danger. The little figure is on high alert and I almost expect him to squeak in warning any minute.

I had a meerkat as a pet when I was a boy, and I still cherish the memory of him sleeping in my lap like a cat, exempting me from any random chores lest it be woken and disturbed.

Mayhem happened one night when a fat, drunken guest slept over. Unbeknownst to him, the meerkat had snuggled up against his back under the blanket. The sleeping arrangement worked well until he rolled over on top of the meerkat, squeezing an amazing amount of poop from the frightened animal.  There was a lot of loud, alarming noise from man and beast, and some members of the family spent a lot of time cleaning floors, walls, and bedding. The rest tried to calm  the meerkat and the horrified and now stone cold sober guest. That was the hard part,  and if my memory serves, guest and meerkat  never shared a bed again.

Memories of an African Airport

Which of you can claim, as I can, to have landed on Matekane Airport in Lesotho. The runway is 400 meters long and the straight down drop at the end of the runway is 600 meters down a cliff. This was all made a bit more exiting as the pilot, who smelled very heavily of the local fermented maize drink when he arrived three hours late and the co pilot during this time was siphoning some fuel out of a 44 gallon drum with an old hosepipe to fill up the plane. The last straw, after two failed attempts to take off,  was the pilot admitting to the only passenger – me – that he does not fully understand the Russian plane. Never the less, we took off from Maseru and landed “safely” at Matekane. Needless to say, I took a donkey taxi down the mountain back to Maseru – taking all of two days.

2016-03-11 - Matekane Airport - Lesotho