Monday, July 18, 2011

Are Tilapia Vegetarian?

Michael held off on the talk that we would later have about being smart and safe. Instead he starting brainstorming on how we would catch one of those crafty tilapia. Michael and Bro. Bri suggested dental floss and a safety pin, the others came together swiftly, donating such items. Thank you Dave Brooks and Mr. Corrigan. Tools in hand, I start searching for bait. I explored the tall grass by the water and found a small brown grasshopper. As I held him in my hands, I whispered a few words through the cracks between my fingers in English, and very little in Swahili informing him of his destiny. I thanked him for his contribution and slid him onto the safety pin.

There is this footbridge crossing the pond that you just have to see. Its made of red and white washed wooden planks configured together to make a functional piece art. It was well traveled but still sturdy. I laid down on my stomach, head and arms hanging over the edge, lowering my floss, safety pin and grasshopper. I have officially drawn a small cheering squad. Some doubtful that I will get so much as a nibble and others rooting for the victory. A few of the smaller fish showed up to investigate, but decided that it wasn't quite their taste. I thought to change my bait. I found a piece of raw corn, and a beetle that looked like something dinosaurs would eat. This thing was huge. The corn needed very little prep, but the beetle was too big to put on the safety pin whole. I spoke to him in the same language used earlier with the grasshopper and cut him in half. It was not an easy job. I returned to the bridge, first trying the beetle. The beetle was still moving a bit so I thought this might be just what I needed to catch the big fish. Unfortunately for me, the beetle got the same response from the fish as grasshopper did. Are tilapia vegetarian? I remove the beetle from the pin and push on a small kernel of sweet white corn. The corn was in the water for a few seconds before a small group of fish came around pecking at the kernel. They like it! As I anxiously watch their nibble fest I await with a relaxed, but ready arm, to yank which ever one gets greedy, clean out of the water! They nibbled feverishly until the little piece of corn fell off the hook. I returned to the small group of spectators proving some right. All I had in hand was what I started with, dental floss and and safety pin. The big one got away, but the adventure was in trying to catch him.
Thankful that there was a Chef in the kitchen preparing dinner, I returned to my room for some well deserved relaxation. I later returned to enjoy cold Tusker Malt with the crew while we waited for our meal. I had no clue that Tusker made a malt. I come all the way to Kenya and find myself drinking malt liquor........and that ladies and gentleman is how I earned the name Billy Dee........"Habari gani, b!tches".

Anyway, it took almost 3 hours to get our food. My stomach was starting to eat itself. Once we got our meal, I realized that it was not in vain. The food was delicious. Everything was fresh and perfectly seasoned. It was explained that part of the wait was because the refrigerator is small, and fresh items need to be purchased daily. So the chicken that the rest of the crew ate was probably clucking an hour ago, and my greens picked this morning. It was well worth the wait, and the company of the 2010 walkers is something to be desired as I sit here and type my memories to the world.
We would then all retire and prepare for what tomorrow would bring. We would get our legs under us with a nice hike up Mt. Mielu, lay eyes on the beautiful children at the Makindu Children's program, and stay at the Sikh Temple. I start my bedtime ritual, and hear a knock at my back door. It was Dave Brooks, he said he was restless and came to check on me. We walk out by the lake and he tells me stories of the past about trips to Kenya, Hunters Lodge, and life in general. Thank you Dave. I return to a huge lizard attached to the wall over the head of my bed. He won't move. I hide in my mosquito net, and count my blessings until I fall asleep.