The Cheetah blessing

Mark Haldane, the owner of Zambeze Delta Safaris has continued to work to protect the animals of the area. As part of the plan, he helped to sponsor the “24 Lions Project” back in 2018. This effort was partially funded by the Cabella Family Foundation and the lions were affectionately known as “Mary’s Lions”….Mary being the matriarch of the outdoor sports enterprise!! To date, there are over 60 lions roaming the lands of Coutada 11!!

As Mark and the others researched more about the area to determine what other animals had once survived there but had been poached out of existence, he found that Cheetahs had been plentiful in the area.

So, a plan was put into place to introduce 12 Cheetahs to Coutada 11.  Before they can come in, the chief of the village has to give his approval.   To do this, there is a ritual where he inquires of the gods as to whether this is acceptable.  

I got to witness this event!!!

The chief arrived…..

….with several of the elders and other villagers….

A shrine was set up at the base of a tree…..

….and the villagers gathered around…..

The ritual consisted of the presentation of various items to the gods.  These included flour, millet, Fanta (the orange drink), Coca-cola, hooch (local alcohol), beer, whiskey, red wine, bread, manufactured cigarettes and rolled cigarettes.   With each of these items, the chief intoned certain phrases over and over and the others would answer with a clap and a word that sounded like “boom”.

Once this was over, they passed around all the leftover offerings and the people consumed the rest of it.

This video is a summary of the time.   Be sure to listen for the trilling that two of the women would do.  It is called uvulating and freaked me out the first time I heard it because it sounded like it was coming from the woods behind me…..

When they finished, they packed up…..

….walked to the truck…..

…..and they were gone……

I had two favorite photos from the day….

This one of Chief Tozo…..

….and these four ladies with a child…..

They left their shrine at the base of the tree…..

It was an interesting experience and apparently the gods said okay because tomorrow’s post is about their arrival!!!

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