"I've seen my first giraffes, at the roadside, yes right beside it.
Zebra too, a whole herd, and monkeys on the road.
Béa's e-mailed a host of people a latest round-up of "niouses" from her first Africa posting for AFP, where she revels in being "paid to play the tourist".
She's had her breath snatched away by the magnificent Ngong Hills beloved of Karen Blixen, "green mountains spilling down into the near desert of the immense Rift Valley, broken up by volcanoes."
She's met the proud Masai people, who gave her little eggs and fresh milk from their cattle. The pic is not yet one of Béa's; I stole it from the online gallery of Brian D. Kohl, an American with much travel under his belt and a fine eye for photos that break with routine.
Hers is a letter full of fresh delight, but Béatrice hasn't just been getting to know Kenya.
"I spent 10 days in the Democratic Republic of Congo (ex-Zaïre and Tintin's Congo (...) Went in haste after a massacre by machete of 65 people in Ituri, the north-eastern province rich in gold and prized timbers.
Béa won't be including the Iraq war and its aftermath in that count of hers.
Since 1999, 50,000 people have been killed in inter-ethnic violence in this region. And since September 2003, UN peacekeepers have been deployed to re-establish security.
Met those who survived the slaughter, with the 10-year-old children wielding Kalashnikovs who maintain a reign of terror, to loot -- just to live.
Talked to other kids who spend their day down at a stream and in the mud, trying to pan a little gold to get food, held to ransom by other child-soldiers.
Then there were the kids who fought each other to grab my small, unfinished bottle of water, to empty it and just have a container. Because they've got nothing left (...)
Yeah, 50,000 deaths in five years in this region lost in the heart of Africa, say 20 times as many as in the Near East, and nobody gives a damn, the media media first and foremost."
The BBC this morning broadcast the first international interview given by General Jay Garner, the man the Americans put in charge there for the first weeks after taking Baghdad.
In Garner's talk with Gordon Corera (a 7'38" RealAudio clip), the general discloses where he thinks reconstruction went awry and tells us how he had to remove one expert he'd asked to join his team because of ever-present rivalries in Washington.
Well, Iraq won't be any of my direct concern, but Africa will, as ever, and no doubt I'll be reading Béa's latest on the incoming so-called "wire" from Nairobi long before she has time to e-mail us all another update.
This is BF-day -5 -- "Back to the Factory".
None too soon now, I was told yesterday when I dropped into AFP at the end of a busy afternoon's preparations.
"They're clamouring for you across the continent," a kind-hearted desk chief said.
"Ah, they want their court jester back!"
"No, that's not it..."
Hmm. That came straight after the second meeting with the psycho-somatic shrink. In episode three, she promises, we'll finally get on to stress management and how I can learn to identify just a little less with the people I talk to out on the "front lines".
Natalie, as yet I've little more of significance to say on the "food of queens". It might be worth noting that now we've clearly established that I'm as influenced by the waxing and waning of Gaia's satellite as the tides, this is the first new moon time in months I didn't spend several days in a deep low.
That change, however, might be related more to the chemical shift in serotonin-level adjustment (more at, ahem, 'Depression Depot') of the past few weeks than the mystery three percent in the make-up of Royal Jelly.
It could also be that I feel more alert for longer stretches of the day, and there's no doubt that my dreams have become more vivid with each night since the weekend.
1:38:55 PM link