On our way to Jabula last night for our Christmas Eve dinner, we stopped unannounced to see Louise and Danie. They were sitting on the veranda having sundowners and watching the hysterical behavior of a male hornbill flying around looking for grasshoppers to bring back to his mate and chicks living in a bushbaby house.
The poor male was skinny, from constantly flying while foraging for his mate’s food. Danie grated some cheddar cheese and placed it on the table near where we sat with our sundowners in hand, enjoying the companionship and the gorgeous early evening. The male hornbill came up next to me, picked up a piece of cheese, and headed back to the nest to give it to his partner. She ate several pieces he offered her.
But after her accepting about three pieces of cheese, she tossed the fourth piece out the hole of the little house, indicating she’d had enough cheese and wanted more grasshoppers. He got the message and flew off, returning less than a minute later with a grasshopper in his beak. He offered it to her, and she quickly grabbed it to feed herself and her since-hatched chicks.
This little interaction in nature particularly warmed our hearts. reminding us why we are here and the joys this magical place has to offer. As we sat with our friends, reveling in the lively conversation and sharing the awe over the hornbill activity, we couldn’t stop smiling, realizing how fortunate we are to spend Christmas in this magical place. After a while, we all hugged goodbye with the warmest Christmas greetings and made our way to Jabula.
No, there is no snow. No, the bush houses aren’t decorated with a vast array of colorful blinking lights. No, we won’t return to our house after the end of our evening at Jabula, to a lit Christmas tree adorned with beautifully wrapped gifts, too many to count. This is Christmas in the bush, and this is what nature provides to remind us of the blessings God (or whatever higher power you may believe or not) gave us to cherish and revere at this time of the year and always.
The above graphic bespeaks what it means to be here during the holiday season and how it impacts us. Thanks to Louise for posting and sharing this on her Facebook page yesterday, inspiring us to share it today.
When we arrived, the bar was packed with locals, most of whom we knew or had met. Our usual seats were taken, so we parked ourselves down close to the air-con unit and ordered our drinks. I had brought along a bottle of my 5% alcohol white wine, and Tom ordered a Lion beer, his favorite.
We were content and felt at ease being there on Christmas Eve. Music was playing in the lively bar, and the conversation flowed, as always. Darkness fell, and finally, we ordered our dinners. Tom ordered chicken schnitzel, chips, and creamed spinach, while I ordered grilled chicken breast with steamed vegetables, which are frequent favorites.
While we chatted at the bar, Dawn beckoned us to follow her to a distant serving area where other patrons were dining. Apparently, they “knew” us. As it turned out, the two men David and Dawn introduced us to at the table had been following us on YouTube for years. After watching our many videos, they decided to come to Marloth Park and build a house here.
How ironic!! How amazing it feels for us to inspire others to come here and build a life in this paradise-like environment! It was serendipitous for them to be at Jabula when we were!
These are all the Christmas gifts we could possibly want; nature, wildlife, wonderful friends, the love of our family, and course, each other. We are grateful this holiday season and always…
Photo from one year ago today, December 25, 2021: