Saturday was a wonderful day for us at Jumbo. After a week of cold miserable weather the sun came out to shine and little Catherine didn’t freeze in her beautiful christening dress that God mother Wendy gave her. God mother Colleen and Louise produced a magnificent array of snacks and God father Michael drove all the way from Zomba at the crack of dawn to be there on time. John Spowsen did a magnificence personal service and I really thought that the day could not get any better with all of our friends there to celebrate with is but it did.


Thanks to Darren Jamesion and his wonderful father  who cut down ancient blue gums from his forest on the farm I have finally after a year of searching got the big straight sturdy gum poles that I need for my barn.  We were all sitting in the garden when I heard the sound of a big truck driving along the road and looked up to see the truck full of poles arriving. Think some of our guests thought that I had finally lost the plot when I showed such elation at a truck full of poles but…….those of you who have shared my frustrations at not being able to find suitable poles will understand. Needless to say I am afraid I abandoned my guests whilst I went to supervise the offloading of the poles – quite a feat as this was all done by hand by our able staff members and the poles are 12- 15m long and up to 40cm in diameter so rather heavy and cumbersome but in normal Malawian style we “made a plan” and put up a makeshift offloading ramp made of smaller poles along the entire side of the truck and rolled them off.


Shortly after finishing the offloading od the poles I got a phone call from Darren to say that he had come across a baby antelope that was being sold on the side of the road that was in a very bad way and he wanted to rescue it but first needed to check that I would be able to stabilise it and look after it. Well as you know I can never turn away an animal in need no matter how unlikely its chances of survival are and so Darren picked the little buck up and started his long journey home with it snuggled in the foot well of his car.  They arrived at the house late that night and Darren handed over a very tiny, very hungry little duiker who was surprisingly calm and relaxed given her ordeal – perhaps she had just resigned herself to her fate or perhaps she had realised that nobody had hurt her or frightened her during the journey and that perhaps these people were here to help. The starving little baby started to suck on the bottle as soon as she smelt the milk which is always a good start as quite often these fragile little creatures just give up and refuse to drink. Duikers are very fragile little creatures at the beginning and are rather difficult to raise as they often just refuse to fight and give up on life but I think we have a little fighter on our hands and so far she is doing well. She just loves little Catherine and makes a beeline for her whenever she sees her and the feeling is mutual as Catherine laughs and puts her little arms out to greet her and then rests her head against her body to give her a love.  Somehow these two babies have developed a bond and Catherine loves watching the bottle feeding ( does want to share the bottle on occasion as well). It warms my heart to have a new baby to care for as our other “baby” Mistletoe  is now ready for release and no longer needs my close attention.  I am struggling to come up with a name for the little duiker this time so wonder if any of you have suggestions for me?