Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Smell of Death

Skeletons are easy to find in the desert!
Living in the desert has been quite a different experience from living next to the Rocky mountains. The land is arid and flat. I've grown accustomed to seeing the sky around me in every direction. There are no more mountains to use as a landmark, hence the reason why I don't have a great sense of direction anymore. North, south, east, and west all seem to blend together unless I take the time to realllllyyyyyy stop and think about it. 

My village is smack dab in the middle of the Kalahari Desert which creates a whole variety of issues for any living creature out here. Sand covers the land in Kang, sharp thorns bury themselves in the sand awaiting the next victim, and during the summer months the sand feels similar to lava. I'm yet to discover much to love about the sand. 

Water shortages occur on a weekly basis and the water will be out completely anywhere from a few hours to almost a week. People store water while the precious resource is around to utilize during the dry periods. But what about the animals? 

Dead donkey found in my village 
Livestock dies on a daily basis. There isn't nearly enough water to supply livestock with water during times of drought, so animals will start to wither away and die in the desert. Encountering entire carcasses, limbs of an animal, or the picked apart skeleton seems like a normal part of my every day life. One day, I found five dead donkeys, a dead cow, and a few dead chickens around my village as I was going about my normal routine. I hope that I never see more than that in a single day... 

My least favorite part about all of this is the stench. Birds flock from all around to peck out the eyeballs, pick apart the bodies, and feed on the dead animals. Carcasses lay around for days and weeks at a time, rotting in the harsh African sun. It's easy to tell when a dead animal is around; I always smell it before I see it. The sun here is so brutal and the breeze is a foreign friend. However, when the breeze does come around, it brings the smell of death with it. It's an unbelievably horrendous smell that I hope no one else has to experience; the smell lingers in your nose and reminds you of how precious life really is. No water? No life. 

Thank goodness I'm able to find and store water for myself during these dreadfully hot summer months, but the poor animals aren't quite as fortunate. 

No comments:

Post a Comment