Showing posts from July, 2013

Contraception, monogamy and torture

During my time living on this farm, I’ve been going out every day with the cattle workers to learn about livestock farming.  As most of the workers here don’t speak English, I’ve been provided with one of the younger women who lives on the farm to act as my translator.  She’s an 18 year old San girl who’s just doing odd jobs around the farm as and when they need her.  She lives here with her brother and father, who both work with the cattle.  She’s a quiet and reserved girl and I have found it quite hard to get her to talk at all.  However, one day when we were alone and standing waiting for the cattle guys to pick us up, I started talking to her about what it’s like to be a woman in her culture and what she thinks about having babies.  She really started to open up and was saying that she’s very scared to have children because she hears it hurts a lot and many of the women here don’t go to hospital to give birth; rather, they just go into labour by themselves in the bush!  No painki…

Skulls, spiders and sunsets

Hello from the livestock/trophy hunting farm!  I had a rather uneventful move last Sunday to my new home (besides from seeing around 50 vultures sat on the gravel road on the way to the farm, which was a magical sight when they all took off as I drove closer!) and have unpacked and settled in very easily.  I guess I am pretty adept at moving now, having done it far too many times to count in the last 11 years!  The farm I’m staying on is a huge 24,000 working cattle ranch and trophy hunting reserve, with a side business in meat processing – just the ideal place for a vegan!  One might consider me a masochist…!  I guess they say, “know your enemy”.  Not that this farm treats the animals badly at all – far from it; the cattle graze free-range in large, wild camps.  They are antibiotic-, hormone-, and steroid-free; they are healthy, they are not killed by predators despite having both leopards and cheetahs on the farm, and they live harmoniously alongside wildlife. So far whilst here I …

The difference between us and them

It’s been 2.5 weeks since I arrived into Namibia and although my research began with a slow start, I’m now finally getting into the swing of things.  I’ve been busy interviewing people from the government, lecturers at the agricultural college and farmers across the country.  I’ve also finalised details for the farm that I’ll be living on and I move in tomorrow – yay!  I get my very own cottage to myself, complete with vegetable garden and citrus trees.  More pics will follow, undoubtedly!
After my initial worries about finding it hard to interview farmers over here, I’ve decided that actually most people are only too willing to help.  I’ve been offered farms to stay on for a week to learn more about their livestock, hunting lodges to visit to talk about trophy hunting and have been invited to Farmers Associations to talk with the local community.  I’m so glad and thankful that it seems for the most part that everyone here is interested in my work and doesn’t mind me bothering them f…

Cattle and game vs. lions, who wins?!

To add to the depth my research topic, I’m looking at other avenues to collect data.  This includes delving into the controversial world of trophy hunting.  Although many cannot see the appeal to trophy hunting (their question being “why kill an innocent wild animal for fun?”; my retort would be “why eat an innocent animal for gluttony?” ;-) ) it has been proven in many situations to protect wild habitat that would otherwise be converted into agriculture (and as my research is demonstrating, agriculture and wildlife rarely get along).  This habitat can be used by both trophy animals and other wildlife alike.  However, being that predators can’t tell the difference between a privately bought sable antelope for US$20,000 and a wild one, game managers often hate predators more than livestock farmers.  In fact, some have said that the worst enemy of the cheetah is not the sheep farmer, but the trophy hunting manager.  So this is why last week I decided to visit some taxidermists in town …

"I've killed more lions in Namibia than anyone else"

Since leaving CCF on Sunday, I moved into my temporary home on the outskirts of Otjiwarongo town centre with a lovely French lady called Monique.  She has a spacious bungalow with a swimming pool and beautiful garden that overlooks the bush beyond the house and a number of cute (but very timid) house cats.  I'm sure this will be the most luxurious accommodation I'll stay in during the next 7 months of being in Namibia!
On my first full day in Otjiwarongo I decided to take a trip into town to visit a few places where I might bump into some farmers.  Little did I know what I was getting myself into!  Naively but confidently, I stumbled into a large agricultural store and went straight to the Manager's office to ask for some advice on finding farmers to talk to.  He said that I might like to attend the nearby Farmers Association meeting in a few weeks.  I thanked him, left, and went to look around the store.
Shortly afterwards, he came up behind me on the phone, finished his…