Sophie’s Diary – July 16, 2016
After breakfast I went into Harrismith with Andi and her son Rowan who had just arrived from the Cape area. Andi had to pick up a few items in town and from her shop called Biltong Deli. We stopped in at the veterinary clinic so that Lööf Foundation could help pay the vet bill from the inauguration. It cost approximately SEK 3000:- which was relatively cheap considering the vet and his nurse worked for nearly four hours giving Carl a proper check up, deworming medicine and a microchip. As well, darting both Mandla and Isibindi to move them to their new enclosure, giving them a check up and medicine.
Rowan had to have a haircut for school so I went off and bought two very nice Adidas soccer balls, one for Rowan and one for Carl. After we finished our errands in town we went to Andi’s father’s house. We sat there and drank coffee together discussing the upcoming election this autumn. Once we returned back at the farm, Johan and I went up to Carl’s little enclosure to give him the soccer ball. It was so cute because he actually played with it, looking at the ball and chasing it. I could tell he was very happy with it, as well as his playmate Johan. At one point it actually looked like Carl and Johan were playing soccer!
Later in the evening we decided that we should all go out for dinner, as one last celebratory get together. Of course I couldn’t leave out the lions and wanted them to have a good parting gift. I asked Andi what a good treat for the lions would be and she said that they love freshly killed chicken. However you cannot purchase that in a store, so Andi’s foreman LP went to a nearby farm to collect six chickens, as that is all the money I had. I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough for Carl. He informed me that Carl could not eat a whole chicken since he is so little and that he would be just as happy with the legs of a chicken. We went to Sasha, Natasha and Moya’s enclosure first to give them their chickens. I got to throw the chicken in over the enclosure. The lions played with the chickens for a little. Then we delivered the chicken legs to Carl and he was very happy! Next we went down the hill to give Mandla and Isibindi their chickens, however they were too scared to come out and get them. Mela was the last one we delivered the chicken to and she was thrilled to play with it. Andi told me that this was normal behavior. Mela walked around with it in her mouth looking very proud as in the wild it is rare occurrence for a lion to catch a bird. However Mela was not too fond of the feathers.
After the delivery of all the chickens I went back down to the house to take a much-needed bath. Before I could get in, I caught sight of the sun going down so I went outside. As I watched the sun set, I kept repeating the mantra “thank you” as I am so very grateful for today and all of my days spent here on Appin Farm. I am so happy to have been able to give these lions chicken as a treat today and give Carl a soccer ball to play with. Feeling very emotional and very appreciative for this whole experience! Once I finished my bath, Johan came to the house to have one as he had been working very hard all day to finish the deck that will be by the new tent camp for volunteers. During our time here on the farm, Johan has been very useful, as the two Norwegian girl volunteers who are very handy do not have as much building experience. Johan has helped significantly in the building of this deck.
Once Johan and I were ready we got into the car to leave for Harrismith for dinner with Andi, her staff and volunteers. Along the car ride I asked Johan if we would have enough time tomorrow morning to say one last goodbye to Carl before we left. I couldn’t get all the words out of my mouth because I just started crying. I could not stop the whole way to dinner and even once we got inside. It felt like we were leaving a baby behind. I have grown very attached to Carl Odin the seventh. This is his full name as the two Norwegian girl volunteers wanted to name him Odin, after the Viking God Odin. We combined the names and of course had to add “the seventh” at the end of his name as he is named after a king and is the seventh lion to join the family on Appin Farm.
Chairman and Founder of Lööf Foundation