A baby is born


“Look! Tembo kidogo!”

“A small elephant? A baby? Mtoto?

“Ndiyo! A baby elephant.”

“Wapi? Where?”

“Over there. To the left.” Paul, the Kikuyu driver, warden, guide, etc. veered the Land-Rover inside the bush. There they were. Three females, facing outward for any possible predator, standing guard over a crouched form on the ground.


“OMG!” Said T1. There were two T’s so one was called T1 and the other T2. “OMG, is it… is it dead?”

“Hapana, no,” Paul said. “It was just born twenty, maybe thirty minutes ago. It is resting, before it gets up for the first time.”

“Get up?” T2 asked. “Only one hour old and it gets up?”

“Yes,” Paul said. “All babies here have to get up as soon as they are born, otherwise…”


“Otherwise?” V. asked.

“Otherwise they make an easy prey for a pack of lions. Even if the the cow elephants are very strong.”

“The cows?” A. asked.

“Yes, the cows, that’s what the females are called. And the males are bulls.” Paul chuckled. “Don’t ask me, that’s what a Mzungu invented.” Big smile.

“And the mzungu, or rather wazungu,” A. said, “are us, right? The white people?”

“Ndiyo, yes.” Paul said. “But you are not kingereza, not English.”

All four young women laughed. They’d known each other since 1st grade almost. They’d met again for a brief trip in this remote corner of East Africa. V. said: “Look! it’s getting up!”



All were biting their nails. The baby elephant struggled to get up. Raised its head. Fell. Raised itself again. Fell again, while the females stood guard around it.



“Come on! Come on! Come on! You can do it! Get up!”


“Yes! That’s it!”


“I am…”


“I am the…”


“I am the King of the world!”


“Well done dear”, Mom says.


“Let’s go now. Too many wazungu watching us.”


“And where are we going, Mom?”


“Home, dear. Daddy has prepared a vegetarian lasagna. I’m sure you will like it.”


“And off they went in the sunset…”

What sunset? Check the script, man. That ain’t no sunset. CUT. CUT!

Location: Maasai Mara, Kenya, East Africa. Equinoxio Time Patrol log year: 2011. All (exceptional) photos, (c)ourtesy Gini. Thank you for joining us on Equinoxio. Kwaheri sassa. See you soon.

66 thoughts on “A baby is born

  1. Such a sweet post, I adore Elephants, they are intelligent creatures, I fear for them. We must stop the killing of elephants for ivory.

  2. Nice story completing the great shots! 🙂 I like the Swahili mixed with English, makes everything more original, more… alive. 😉

  3. Possibly one of my favourite trips of Equinoxio’s Time-Space shuttle. I also like the fact that somehow I manage to keep dodging the ticket master! Love the pic where the baby’s bottom is up in the air with the effort of getting up for the first time….I look very similar in the mornings!

    Watched a very sad version of this…shall I ruin your comments vibe and tell it?

    • I can imagine any possible sad variations on that story. A white rhino has just been killed in a French Safari park to saw off his horn. Let us say no more and stay with the baby elephant. Yes, that position is very common among humans too. Some of my mornings are indeed very similar. The ticket master has special instructions: friends ride for free… 😉

      • Ha! I like freebies!

        Yeah, heard about the rhino – I don’t know what it will take for these places to get better security.
        You hear about the baby rhino who was battered and stabbed to death in a S American zoo? They didn’t even know it had happened because the scared little mite stayed in his swimming pool afterwards and wouldn’t get out so no one noticed his scars until he keeled over. What price an alarm system?

        No, my original story was a little buffalo had just been born and it’s mother and another buffalo were willing it to get up ala the elephant, but it just lay there chilling.

        Problem was the herd was moving further away and baby was just taking it’s merry time. The other problem being a hyena was just sitting there lying in wait.
        You’re watching this thing going, ‘Get up baby! Get Up!’

        Mom runs the hyena off – several times – and it just circles and comes back. Mom looks wistfully at disappearing herd and follows them, then comes back for baby… ‘GET UP!’

        Baby just lies there.

        So inevitably mom and pal have to catch up with the herd.

        Hyena moves in…then baby decides to get up! Too late. It is heartbreaking. Nature is such a b****!
        You know hyenas eat prey whilst they’re still alive right? The little screams……Heartbreaking.

        Anyway now I’ve spread joy and happiness, I’m off. ‘Bye! 🙂

      • Heartbreaking indeed. Even zoos are not safe anymore. And about hyenas, well, it is the law of nature. The most common prey are baby animals. For more on Hyenas, read Jane Goodall’s excellent “Innocent killers”, written with her then husband Hugo Van Lawick.

      • I like Mdme Goodall so that will join the growing queue of ‘wish I could reads,’ (including your own which I haven’t forgotten) – unless it’s available aurally. Shall check.

      • Aurally I doubt. And it is so old it’s probably out of print. One that should not be is Gerald Durell’s “My family and other animals.” Lots of fun. 😉

      • Isn’t that strange? In the ’50’s Lawrence Durrell was one of the top 5 writers of his time. A possible nominee for the Nobel even. Little Gerry was running around the globe catching animals for preservation in his zoo. And now? I’ve tried rereading Justine, part of Alexandria’s quartet, and it has aged. Gerald’ wit and humour hasn’t… 🙂

  4. Lol. I did read your reply before but having it read again in a finishing flourish just saw this bit, ‘Let us say no more and stay with the baby elephant.’. – Ooops! Well after my story about the OTHER rhino and the baby buffalo THEN let’s say no more. Lol.

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