As I walked past the Ngong Hills Dormitory I could see the open garbage pit up ahead. The African crows were screaming and jumping around the edges as usual, fighting for scraps that were no longer new. This trash has been here untouched for weeks. It is open and uncovered and it is visited by people and stray dogs and stray cats and crows.
An African crow is large, larger than an American crow. They are black and white. They sound exactly the same, they are just as fearless, and just as abundant. An African crow could beat the crap out of an American crow.
And then I had to duck, unexpectedly, as an enormous hawk swooped closely overhead in terrifying pursuit of an African crow. I could feel the air move over my head. I swear if I did not duck I would have been clobbered by large birds. My heart skipped a beat. The crow veered and the hawk veered, the hawk possessing twice the wingspan of the crow. The crow pulled up sharp and made a tight turn and escaped from the hawk with the unknown white tidbit still in its mouth as they moved through the trees. The hawk settled on a tree, enormous and surprising, an unusual visitor to this garbage pit.
I continued on my way and as I reached the back of the dorm I was met by the unusual sight of at least thirty men in rows swinging machetes back and forth, back and forth in the tall grass. The men didn’t speak, and I could hear the blades slicing through the tall grass in the field. The blades are about three feet long with a slight bend in the final four inches of the blade. They worked in two long rows, lost in thought, responsible for the area around them as a team. A few noticed me and stopped to look at me. I gave a salute and nodded, and they went back to work.
Slice-slice. Slice-slice. Slice-slice.