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Kian Barker
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Kian Barker

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Horses With Rivers and Not

Greetings and Salutations,

Every night in our quiet hamlet of St. Lucia we get 'horses of the rivers'. Several of them. They sneak into town under the cover of darkness and disappear before sunrise. And their predawn departure leaves them with bellies stuffed with over 100kgs of lip cropped grass. Grass that has been nibbled away from neatly manicured parks and street sides. Those that arrive as visitors seldom believe that this nocturnal activity actually takes place in St.Lucia Village, but it does. However during the better part of the year we get used to seeing various wild animals roaming our streets. Bushbuck, kudu and red duiker. Then there are two months that we are visited by hippos without rivers!

Say "what?", yes that's right, we get an annual migration of 'riverless horses' every night in town. The attraction is a rather nasty alien. Fragrant and fruity, but a belligerent green pest. Although it absorbs lots of greenhouse gasses, it is still unwanted. It is pursued with great diligence and financial cost. The fruit desired by the riverless horses and the eradication there of by man. This is the malignant guava tree. Initially introduced as an agricultural plant, but has successfully colonized pristine wilderness and forestry areas. St. Lucia village has not gone unscathed. There are a number of them in town. During January and February these trees produce sugary sweet, fragrant fruit. The 'hippos without rivers' break out to consume these legally forbidden fruit. Such is their determination, that they break electric fences to satisfy their craving, driven by the fragrance of this alien fruit.

Virtually every night these horse or 'hippos without rivers' as the name hippopotamus is derived from the fact that hippo is a rough translation from Greek meaning horse and the "potamus" translates to river. But it is really strange when you are used to seeing wild animals and the next minute in the middle of our sleepy hollow at night there is a herd of guava gulping horses mingling with hippo. The domestic and wild come to town. A surprise and an oxymoron. Weird, but true. Only in our town.

No more can be said.

Hasta la vista,

The Knait Wrhydah

Posted by Kian Barker

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