It’s coming up on my last week here, which is so bizarre to me. It’s become my home, my place, my life to be here. I looked up the other day and saw Devil’s Peak and realized how acclimated I’ve become to seeing that mountain; it, even more so than the famed Table Mountain, has been the backdrop against which my life for the past seven months has carried on. I fondly, perhaps egotistically, think of it as “my mountain.” I will miss it.
Yesterday we did another presentation at a school in Phillipi. The problem is that we’re at the mercy of the principals who typically want us to present to as many kids at one time as can physically fit in one room. I don’t know if it’s a time-saving thing or if the township schools are just so used to overcrowding that it now seems normal to them. It’s sad because these kids really deserve individual attention. It’s also hard to talk to them about ways to respect one another and take care of their pets when they are climbing all over each other and stepping on each other and pummeling each other to be able to see us.
A strange end to my time here - we got pigs. These great obese potbellied pet pigs. They were rescued from some petting farm or other. They’re grossly, enourmously overweight and of course so cute because of that. The idea was that we could get them and keep them here at the office and use them as Interactive Teachers when the kids from the local squatter camps come by for a soup day or an animal education discussion. So I went to get these pigs the other day from a tony vet’s office in Constantia (a tony suburb of Cape Town) where they were being kept. Because of some neglect they’d suffered they were wary of people, and we couldn’t get close enough to inject them with the tranquilizer we needed to get them in the back of the bakkie (pickup truck) to take them to Animal Rescue. So we ended up chasing them about with a tranquilizer dart gun – a great big huge machine-gun-looking apparatus that the vet there uses to dart wildlife (he works in conservation). It was an amusing scene to the onlooker, I’m sure – five adults with a gun that looks like it came out of MEN IN BLACK chasing two knee-high rolling tubs of lard around a field. Fat as they are, they are fast and squeal loudly.
They are here now, though, sitting out back. Well, lying out back. We’re waiting for the tranquilizer to wear off. Then we’re going to try and re-acclimate them to people. And we’re going to put them on a diet. Their “test-run” will be tomorrow when we have a few people over to the office for a publicity-fundraiser tea. (They’re big on tea here.) The problem is that everyone will want to feed the pigs, so their diet will be off to a very bad start indeed.
Although, aren’t all diets that way?