want to go for a walk?

6 02 2013

Ok, then.  Grab your hat (the sun is still rather sharp at about 6 pm) and get shoes on.  Now for a few moments of tricky movement.  Pull out the black leash and as Tulip hears the buckles she is jumping up and down, excitement drooling along with the spit as she pants and jumps up onto me.  Try to get the leash fixed around her neck (this usually takes a few tries as she dances around in joy) and we are dashing to the gate, arm outstretched, heading for a few moments of canine and human exercise.

I must apologise as today will not be our completely usual style of walk. I am taking the camera along to try and share some of our environment with a few friends, so I will be stopping often and I must also try not to let the camera be seen by too many… oops, too late.  I have been asked to take pictures almost as soon as we are out the gate. Oh, well. It does not happen every day.  Let’s see if Tulip will play along and stop as often as I need to grab a shot.

Wow. Look at the clouds this evening.  There is a bit of cumulus gathered to the east, which does not usually mean rain for us, so I will enjoy the shapes of the clouds just for that. 

can you hear the cows? It is just the time for them to be heading back to their night lodging kraals.  No, we do not live on a farm.  Yes, we do just have cows and goats around us all the time.    Yes, those are rice paddies just in front of the house. They are nice and wet at the moment, and the workers are busily replanting the shoots, removing all weeds and attending to their paddies often.  Oh, behind  and between the cows? Today is Soccer / football practise day and the guys are running laps to warm up.  Yes, just between the cows.  They are truly committed to the game.

Here are our first posers… snap, please.  Notice the big water pool behind the young soccer player. When I don’t mind that Tulip’s feet get muddy we sometimes balance across the rocks to walk across the field that way. But we will avoid that today: the cows have just walked through so it will be really muddy.

Slow down, Tulip. Pole! (por-leh).  You are frightening the poor little goats.

No? You won’t slow down? Then let’s move quickly to get past them and give them a bit of peace.

Oh, wow. A fishing boat is right nearby. We do not see that every day.   And can you hear the choir practising in the church just on the left there? Everyday at this time, for a few hours, the keyboard throbs, the microphones screech for a while and the singing gets going.  Sometimes there are 2 groups practising, both with their own PA systems, different tunes. One group inside the church and one just outside.  It is a vibrant, joyful noise.

We go quite fast here, so not many snaps. Footsteps behind seem just a little too close. But we pass through an area of more paddies, and I often here the frogs beginning their own choir practices as I go through this section. I would love to show you the lovely white impatiens type blooms here, or the vivid orange daisy type flowers. Perhaps we can see them another day. The two little babies sleeping on a kitenge besides the paddy as their mother worked the fields from the last few days are not there today. I wonder if she was bone tired and just went home, or if she is satisfied with the condition of her fields for the next few days?

“Pole. Hamna shida…”  Part of the daily ritual at least a few times: the poor girl has gone to cower around a corner, taking great pains to avoid the ferocious looking dog at my heel. “Hamna shida, Dada.” Sorry, sister. No problems.  The great thing is that Tulip looks rather fierce, but she is as dangerous as her name suggests. Everyday a few people will run from her, but once she is on the leash  (and really, when she is off too!) she is a totally good doggie.  She is the sweetest thing.   But I try to move quickly beyond scared sister, and do not even try to capture her terror on the camera.

Look how well the corn is growing! And the companion planting with tomatoes seems to be doing well. Wow!

Now we are around the first part of the loop,  back to the opposite end of the soccer field.

See how green everything is? And the clouds, now from another angle… beautiful.

The cows have moved off and the soccer players have started working on techniques now.

There was a big game over the weekend, which required that there be some kind of net between their posts. It was still hanging  well yesterday, but by today the knotted banana fibers had fallen from between the posts and are just lying on the ground.  I thought it was a clever plan, when finances for a good net are simply not available.

Then we are off across the field, and come closer to our house, just across the paddies. But Tulip is not ready to go home so we continue on our normal loop.

And then we see the reminder of our huge blessings that we so often take for granted.  There is a steady group of girls coming to the pipe today.

Would you have THIS smile on your face? Filling the bucket, pot full by pot full, and then carrying it home?  Perhaps three or four times a day? And that water does not look too clean…   On the weekends clothes are washed and spread out to dry just near this hole.  It is easier to bring the clothes to wash here than carry the water back home.

I don’t mean to sound preachy, but it sort of puts one can too little of beer, or a shortage of soda at the store into a new perspective.  And worrying about not having the latest model phone, or i-pad, or… Don’t get me started on that…

So many gracious faces who wanted a picture taken, setting the heavy water buckets aside to stand and smile, and then giggle as they saw themselves in the screen.  Precious, precious faces… 

And all the while, Tulip stood quietly at my feet, and I even let the leash slip at one point.  Ah, fierce flower!

But obviously she did strike terror into one creature as we made our way on again…

 

 

 

 

What? That thing has big teeth. And it barks every time I walk past the gate. And it is heading towards me.  Maybe if I freeze it will just ignore me.  Wait. Maybe I should run.. Help…

 

(We just walked past, bovine creature moved aside, and there was no blood shed.)

 

 

 

We always see the little egrets, by the dozen, in the rice paddies, but not always the open billed storks.  Oh, it is lovely to see the bird life around.

They are really moving it with this house being built.  The builders are always a little silly. Making comments about the dog, and even very impressively calling me “doggi-tar”, or doctor, because I am with a doggie.  Ah, We shrug it off and keep moving. 

I am always a  little uncertain in this part. There were ducks in the road one day that Tulip so longed to chase. There is also a dog in a yard that sometimes barks very harshly. On Monday another dog stood in the pathway and I had to work out a few plans to avoid canine warfare. But today the road is clear, and I hear the sounds of a bleating warbler (carmeroptera) singing it nightsong. A very quick flash of him across the road is all I am permitted to see, but he does lead me to look at how well the fruit threes are doing.

 

I miss the mango trees of our Mbale, Uganda garden, so it is great to see how well the fruit in other gardens grow. This one may not last the rest of the week on the tree, it will probably be picked and eaten very soon. Rather green for my taste, but that is how people like them here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And one last visual joy just before we head back into the gate.  I love the brightness of these blooms.

So, that is our short route.  It is about a kilometer in all, and we will stretch this when I am sure that my lungs are up to it and I have a little more time.  Each day brings some similar sights but then everyday holds new surprises too. Who will greet kindly? Who will ask for a handout? What birds or flowers or lizards will I see today? And what will Tulip’s presence add to the mix? 

It is a time I look forward to each day. Hoping you can join me in real life some time.

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