Today is Keita’s birthday. We had prepped her for a few days before hand and she had practiced singing happy birthday to herself. When she was having her morning bottle I reminded her that it was her birthday and she was full of smiles. We presented her with a stuffed lion and a stuffed giraffe, which she seemed to like. The rest of the day was spent preparing for the party. Frannette baked a brilliant chocolate cake in a pot on coals and Rio helped decorate with smarties and finger biscuits dipped in chocolate.
We had a birthday picnic party. Friends are here from Durban for the occasion so we can have a real party. We decided to go back to the beautiful, remote island where we had reconstructed the hippo, despite the fact that there is a vehicle-destroying water crossing to get there. So we packed a picnic and headed off, stopping for a swim in the water crossing on the way.
Brad had picked out a spot where there was shade and flat ground so we set up the camera (becoming tedious in the extreme) and set up the picnic. Keita opened her presents on the car, then blew out her candles. This behind the scenes filming is really becoming a pain. All spontaneity is lost and the kids are constantly being constrained by us, being told to wait, do it again, do it differently etc.
After the food and the filming we had a fabulous game of frisby and an insane game where Rio and Anthony were on the roof of the car and the adults were throwing the ball to them to catch. It is a wonder nobody fell off. Negligent parents 101. But is was great fun and we left the picnic in very good spirits with all 3 kids perched on the windscreen of our pink-balloon-adorned car, singing happy birthday over and over again. There were 3 storms on the horizon and it was a brilliant balmy evening and was wonderful with my Rio snuggled on my lap, driving slowly watching the stars and the sky.
That night, back in camp with all safely tucked in, Brad and I were visiting the long drop. It is always better to do this in teams considering there are no fences and it is a 60 metre walk from the camp. While there we heard Amanda shouting that there was a hyena heading down the path towards us. The hyenas in this part are not to be trifled with so Brad grabbed some clods of earth and headed at a pace down the path, his logic being that one should confront it with aggression. This seemed to work because it detoured off the path as soon as it saw us coming. When relating this incident to Caryn, a friend of mine on skype the following day, she said “at least you were in the right place to shit yourself”. She is very funny.