A ”girls only” lunch date today…Baby photos along the road in Marloth Park…Birthday coming up. .Less fear…

The zebra on the right is a youngster, born earlier this season. The one on the left was most likely born in the last four weeks. What a joy to see these in Marloth Park while on our way to Komatipoort for grocery shopping.

Taking photos from inside a moving vehicle is difficult. If we get out of the vehicle, they’ll take off.

It’s a busy week in the bush as we wind down our last 10 days. Today, my two new friends, Kathy and Linda, are arriving to pick me up at 11:30 for a surprise location for a pre-birthday luncheon. 

Mom and baby zebra as we zoomed past, cars behind us.

The last time I participated in a “girls only” lunch was a few days before we left Minnesota in October 2012 with the close group of four of us in the old neighborhood; Sue, Jamie, Nelleke, and I. We were friends for 26 years with meaningful friendships, all left behind, all of us now staying in touch by email.

What a face! We saw many giraffes along the road on the way out of Marloth Park. The fluffy ossicones indicate this is a female.

Of course, we miss our grown children, spouses, and grandchildren, soon to be together again in 10 months in Hawaii at Christmas. But, we couldn’t make a decision to travel the world such as we have, only to carry regrets or grieve those we love and miss.

Too busy munching treetops to offer a good pose.

The friendships that we nurtured for many years are maintained through Facebook and email. But, lunch with new friends? A treasured experience. Anticipated. Appreciated.

Our birthdays, always celebrated in the past with the utmost of excitement and expectations, now seem important only in the fact that it means we’re blessed with another year of life, perhaps a little wiser, possessing an unstoppable desire to continue on, for as long as we can as we age. 

Emotionally? Our enthusiasm has only increased over time, now that we’ve left behind the apprehension and fear that traveled with us in the beginning. As we’ve become more resilient, more readily adapting to the continuing change of environment, we’ve found the most stressful times are the “flying” days, not the “living” days. 

And yes, there is a bit of trepidation over the upcoming 29 hours from door to door starting on the 28th. I try not to think about possible delays which could cause us to miss one of the four flights in order to arrive in Marrakesh, Morocco. Missing one flight could easily upset the remaining flights. We know from experience, such an occurrence is more likely than not.

Mrs. Warthog a regular visitor to African Reunion House is weaning her four babies. She sits down when they try to suckle. Her eyes follow our movements as she rests in the garden, hoping we send a few more pellets her way. When we toss the pellets, she stands off to the side, letting the babies get them first. What good moms they are! We make a point of tossing some of the pellets directly in front of her to ensure she isn’t left out.

On Thursday this week, we’ll move back to the original smaller house to begin the packing, again requiring more lightening of the load. Our baggage was overweight on the last flights, but somehow we skated through without incurring additional baggage fees. Unable to imagine what more I can give away off of my of my limited clothing supply, the task remains challenging.

The road to Komatipoort, once we’re outside of the Marloth Park security gates. The 25-minute drive goes quickly when Okee Dokee and I tell endless stories resulting in much laughter. We’ll miss her, too.

Part of me is anxious to return on Thursday, to the familiar house and wildlife for our final eight days. Maybe we’ll see Big Boy Warthog again or Kudu Kevin or multiples Mrs. Warthogs and babies. And, maybe if safari luck kicks in, giraffes and zebras will visit one more time before we leave. If not, we certainly have had more visits than we ever imagined.

Photo taken yesterday after this tree frog returned to his favorite spot on a beam on the veranda roof. He must have left for a few days to eat and drink returning yesterday to this same spot. Like us, animals are “creatures of habit.”

We’ve loved the three weeks total we’ll have spent between Kyaha Umdani and the African Reunion House, each with its own unique charms. 

Thursday night, the actual day of my birthday, we plan to go to Jabula which is all the celebration I need or want. Being with Tom and the familiar faces at Jabula is in itself a celebration.

Another Tree Frog was lounging on the wicker chair only a few feet from the tree frog in the rafters. We heard noises back and forth between the two.  Perhaps, mating is on the horizon, but, we haven’t seen a white foam nest near the pool.
Yesterday, Okee Dokee and I made our last trip to Komatipoort for groceries during which I took the photos shown here today. A simple trip for groceries proves to be a heartwarming experience while driving through Marloth Park. 
We hope that we haven’t bored our readers with endless photos of warthogs. This is a fast-growing baby in the above photo. These playful, smart, adorable animals are as enjoyable as the two dogs we grew to love in Kenya, Jessie, and Gucci. I know it may sound crazy to love “pigs” but the residents of Marloth Park feel the same way we do, adoring their familiar and frequently visiting warthogs. Dogs or any pets of any type aren’t allowed in Marloth Park. The warthogs, although still wild, thriving off of the vegetation in the bush, fulfill our desire for the companionship we’ve experienced with pets in our lives.
Having purchased enough data to last until we depart, last night we calculated how many more meals we’ll eat in, as opposed to dining out using as many of the ingredients we have on hand and food in the refrigerator and freezer. Each time we leave a country, we use most of the food, mainly through careful planning.
This and the other babies will eventually be shooed away by their mom as she prepares to mate for another litter. Occasionally, we’ve seen two males hanging out together or a female and a male contemplating mating. With summer in Africa now, the primary mating season has ended. In April or May, the warthog mating season is at its peak. The gestation period of five to six months results in babies being born in October and November.
Last night, we cooked dinner; tender, thick fillets, veggies, and salad. Having downloaded a number of our favorite shows on Graboid yesterday, we were set for the evening’s entertainment which is always accompanied by the frequent pausing of the video we’re watching when we hear sounds in the bush. 
This mom’s ribs are showing which is the first case we’ve seen. This may have prompted her to stop nursing to gain nourishment from the upcoming winter beginning on June 22 when the vegetation is sparse. Warthogs dig up roots to eat during the winter months.

The tree frog returned to his favorite spot on the rafters after a two-day disappearance. Trying to figure out a tree frog’s behavior makes us laugh. In a way, our lives have become mighty simple when we’re able to spend time trying to analyze a frog.

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