MONKEYS IN MY GARDEN
(Unbelievable but true stories of my life in Mozambique)
Living in Mozambique - and in the Nhamacoa Forest - isn’t for the faint-hearted and I have to admit that there were many times when I almost crumbled.
In our early years in the forest after the end of the long civil war, our only contact with the outside world was by listening to our shortwave radio. We had no television or computers and a simple phone call involved a 90 kilometre bone-rattling, dusty round-trip drive along a corrugated, pot-holed dirt road just to use the post office telephone in Chimoio.
Stripped down to the bare necessities of life, we soon began to appreciate all the things we had taken for granted in the more comfortable West.
I still remember how excited we were on that day in 2005 when we discovered that if we climbed a long wooden ladder and stood on top of the grass roof of our house, we had network and could make a phone call from a mobile phone!
Later on, we discovered that if we stood on top of an enormous pile of bricks we also had network. The pictures this conjured up enchanted my mother who lives in Cape Town and whenever I phoned her, the first thing she always asked was “Where are you phoning from? From on top of the roof or from on top of the bricks?”
Although we lived a life where we were often thrown back onto our own resources, there were times when we couldn’t make it on our own and were helped with what I can only describe as some pretty amazing miracles.
There was that time when I broke my reading glasses and couldn’t see a thing. Oh, what a catastrophe that was, especially when I couldn’t buy a replacement pair! Who on earth would have thought that help would have been at hand to regain my eyesight without glasses from an old dead American ophthalmologist and, even more unlikely, an old African President called Robert Gabriel Mugabe!
And then there was that night in 2002, when I was alone and asleep in my house in the forest when an intruder burst into my room and attacked me, trying to blind me with battery acid and then to stab me to death with a knife. Only a few seconds away from certain death, a true miracle saved me that night. And every day I’ve lived since then, has been a gift from God.
Our experiences, too, here in the Nhamacoa forest have made us aware of the terrible destruction that human activity is having on Southern Africa’s indigenous forests. Soon, all these forests will be gone and then it won’t only be rhinos, elephants and lions that have become extinct. With the loss of their habitat, the smaller, less exciting animals that safari companies and tourists often overlook, such as the monkeys, buck and birds will also disappear. And their loss is going to be greater than we think
To see the Monkeys in my Garden, visit www.odpixleyforestblog.blogspot.com and look at video no. 7 – which we called “Help – We have an explosion of monkeys!”