Sunday, 9 February 2014

Sharing Intestines

I think sharing is good, especially when it comes to interesting bits of useful information.  I say this  because I have been reading some very interesting local history books lately and being the generous sort, I like to share the especially informative points, which appears to be driving my family insane.Well, useful in my opinion, of course, how am I to know what's going on inside someone else's head?
But before you laugh just remember that you never know when a useful bit of information may save you.

For instance:

Many years ago when Youngest was a baby, we all (us five and the Hub's parents) spent a long weekend with a Wycliffe Missionary training group somewhere back of Narok (East Africa).
We're talking real bush here, many hours worth of dirt tracks in 4WD from the nearest road-head, which wasn't what anyone in the West would have even called a road. The new Missionaries spent a few months living in the bush learning how to get by under tents, with little water, no contact with the outside world and cooking on open fires.
We joined the return of the weekly truck run to Nairobi for essentials and arrived into camp after dark late at night with a crate of ice cream as a treat, I forget whose idea the ice-cream was, but the Hub worked at a CO2 plant so had access to dry ice which made the transporting of a crate of ice-cream through the tropics for eight or so hours' driving a cinch.
In fact he had been a bit over-zealous with the ice and the ice-cream was so hard frozen that everyone had to sit round the fire for more than an hour in order to wait for it to be edible, literally we could not find an instrument strong enough with which to serve it.

Late night in the African bush, miles from anywhere, sitting round the fire drinking chai and telling stories, listening to the sounds in the bush, the Maasai sing and watching them teach the children to dance whilst waiting for ice-cream to thaw...surreal? much?

Anyhow, that's a bye the bye, I was going to tell you about the usefulness of trivia.

After supper and putting the children to bed each evening everyone gathered together to entertain themselves. Singing, story telling, discussion, but also Trivial Pursuit, remember that? So picture perhaps twenty five or so adults divided into two teams (I think it was Africa v. The Rest of The World) huddled together on rickety home made wooden benches, the Trivial Pursuit board balanced on a camp table lit by a tilly lamp with all these extremely intellectual and competitive people, mostly sophisticated Americans, wracking their brains over purely irrelevant questions.
(Aside:These people were in Africa mainly to translate the Bible into hitherto unknown tribal languages and dialects, and many of them would have to invent the first written ciphers for the languages involved. I mean we are talking multi-talented and truly incredible people here.)

So the pie slices were accumulating, the competition and insults were flying, along with a lot of ragging, and after Africa was gleefully inserting a science slice into their pie, one of their men suddenly announced, 'Hey guys, did you know that a koala's intestines are eight feet long?'
Everyone laughed and exclaimed how that couldn't be right and tried to come up with something comparable but of course we had no way to look it up or prove it one way or another, and in any case so what? The very next card was a pie slice science question for The Rest of The World and guess what it was...

'How long are the intestines of a Koala Bear?'

I kid you not.
As I recall the question was greeted by silence and utter disbelief, we thought he was making it up to tease us, so the card had to be passed around for everyone to see! I think you could probably hear us laughing in Tanzania that night.

Unfortunately we never got to finish the game though as on the way back from the longdrop someone saw a leopard and since there were several children asleep in tents the game was promptly abandoned and we all went to bed.

But the story of the koala bear's intestines did the rounds for years afterwards in both Missionary and Settler circles raising disbelief and a laugh every time. Heck! I'm still laughing!


Amanda said...

What a wonderful story. I bet that card hasn't turned up since whenever you've been playing TP though!

Benta AtSLIKstitches said...

That must have been an amazing experience, actually I guess that's TWO amazing experiences!!!! You set the scene really well!


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