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Mike Brosnan

Hippos


I was working with a fuel and fodder project in Kenya, way up the Rift Valley near Ethiopia around Lake Beringo. Beringo is one of the most beautiful places on earth, the colors, the subtlety of the hazy atmosphere, the interesting Ebo local peoples, and animals ranging from the thousands of unbelievably pink flamingos to the massive hippopotamuses.

Now these hippos. I was staying in a flimsy hut called a roundiville, (which are built of a thin layer of concrete over straw on chicken mesh.) in a camping ground owned by the project manager's mother. On the first night I duly walked across to have a meal and yarn to this interesting white African lady.

Getting dark, so off I go back to my little home. Now the hippos during the day stay either on the bottom or surface of the lake, with eyes peeping out at you.
Hippos grazing at night
source: vwviaje.com
Night grazing
I find to my horror that at night they come ashore and graze the foliage on the flats.
They were everywhere between me and my hut.
What to do, and would you believe I had no torch (which in retrospect would have been a blessing).
Now we all have heard this story of mother hippos' attitudes to strange beings in the presence of their young.
With this firmly in mind, and noticing that they were behind me as well, I gingerly pressed on.
Well I made it to my little shell of a haven.
It was a very scary night. I would hear heavy breathing, look out my window and see these massive eyes looking at me from a meter away.
A frightening sight through the window
source: flickr.com
A frightening sight through the window

Then there would be this roaring sound on the walls.
In the morning my whole hut had been repainted by green hippo poo. It is in liquid form and they wag their tail furiously which becomes an effective paint sprayer


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