Thursday, July 24, 2014

Creeping, Crawling Critters…this one's for the kids

I am not an animal person, period. Alright, my kids would yell at me correct me nicely by reminding me we had a cat in America. We got that cat because I saw a smaller critter in the house that I hoped Buttons would take care of for me and then we all fell in love with her.  Animals smell, they leave presents in random places and they can take you by surprise.  Living in Guinea Bissau has helped me to grow in my not love of animals, however I have gotten used to the creeping, crawling type of critters that used to make me shriek like a girl (okay, so I am a girl) and run the other way.

When our kids have talked with their friends they are always asked, "What animals do you have?". Actually, now that I think about it a lot of people ask us about the animals.  Probably because we live in Africa. No, I should say it like this…we live in Africa! We should have giraffes, zebras, lions, hippos, you know all those animals you think of when you think of Africa.  Well, we have cows, goats, sheep, chickens, pigs, dogs and cats.  That's exciting right? Oh, I left out gazelles and monkeys.  Now that's exciting! Jada saw a gazelle the other day when she went to the cashew orchard with her friend.  We've eaten gazelle..sorry our vegetarian friends, but it was delicious! We also have rabbits, squirrels, rats, really huge rats that like to swim in our co-workers well, truthfully that has only happened once since we lived here.

Instead of listing all the animals we have, I'll let you see them.  I started taking pictures of our animals for all of you that are interested.  Now before I let you see them, I got pictures of animals I could actually get a picture of…remember that…no exciting gazelles galloping through the orchard.

Our first pet here in GB was a parakeet that we named cashew because he liked to eat the cashew fruit. Sad story…he died.  We believe a snake killed him, because his head was taken off.  There were tears shed…Michael is still crying.  Haha, just kidding, the children cried a lot, not Michael. He didn't even cry one tear, nor did I. This bird was all about taking you upon surprise.  One day I was sitting on the veranda hanging out with my kids when all of a sudden I felt something nipping at my ankle.  I yelped and jumped up and low and behold there was this little parakeet looking all innocent.  He tried to eat me! I am sure of it. No lie, this parakeet liked to eat moms!   

We have many beautiful birds, I am not sure the name of this one, but it's colors are so vibrant.  We also have these really little birds that are bright red and love to eat the ants on our veranda.  

These are technically not in GB, and I have posted them before in a previous post, but come on, they're stinkin' cute! 

This is one of many, and I mean MANY lizards that scurry about our house and yard.  This guy was enjoying the ants that came out of that crack in our veranda.  I was sitting maybe three feet from him and I was totally not scared.  

This is the same type of lizard in the picture above. He had just gotten done fighting (well we originally thought it was fighting, but then later after looking at pictures I had taken realize that the two lizards were most likely male and female and not necessarily fighting…more like wrestling). 

We think this is the most beautiful lizard.  His colors have been slowly changing with the rainy season. (Mom, this ones for you, remember you asked me to take a picture of this lizard)

There is a story with these two turtles.  It is not uncommon to have children come to your door trying to sell you animals they have captured or killed.  Two girls (of which are Jada's friends) had found these two turtles and wanted us to buy them.  We nicely told them that we weren't interested, they walked off looking dejected only to return that evening with humongous smiles on their faces.  They were giving us these turtles as a gift!  Now what were we to do, refuse their gift? No, that's not nice.  We smiled and took them, thanking them, all while our children danced around with glee thanking them profusely.  So there you go, we got our second pet, two turtles, we never named them.  Okay wait…there's discrepancy with this…some of our children said we named them, Tim Tom and Myrtle. Other kids say we never named them…so you can decide.  

Here's our future zoologist or veterinarian holding a turtle.  She has absolutely loved all the animals here and begs us to buy every animal that someone tries to sell us. 

Our turtle decided to take a swim in our shower water.  I got a video of him after we pulled him out of the water.  We placed him on the veranda and he took a dive off the edge and walked off into the taller grass.  He could really move! Now our turtles have both wondered off into the land of taller grass.  We haven't seem them for over a week, they are probably having adventures grander than they would've had on our veranda.

This little boy tried selling us this squirrel.  It was dead. Wonder what we said? It was a big NO. 

Yeah, these aren't animals, but they sure are cute. I couldn't help but add them in here.  Oh, and they are with our newly growing bananas.  Yummy! 

This is pretty normal, a goat.  He has once again jumped our fence to get to our grass to eat.  Apparently our grass is much more delicious than any other grass in the village because the goats are always hanging around eating our weeds.  

A snail, I know we have snails in America…but check out this photo below! 

That is the largest snail I have ever seen! That's Isaiah's hand to give you an idea of how big it is.  The kids love to find them every morning around our house.  

The funny thing about these snails is how scared the people here are of these little guys.  Our neighbor lady chased down a snake for us and killed it, but when our kids wanted to show her this snail, she shrieked and ran away yelling, "I'm scared of those!"

These are the most interesting, beautiful and intriguing bugs to us.  They are a bright, vibrant red and can usually be found on the path before or after a rain.  I have heard a few different stories about these bugs when I've asked what they are called.  They say that they are tears from God because of our sins.  If you see one on the path that means you will sin.  However many you see, that's how many sins you will commit that day.  I have also heard that they fall from the sky and are God's children.  Lydia has heard that they are Jesus' angels.  Josiah has heard that they come from God, when it rains, God sends them.  Jada and Lydia also heard that if you kill one you have sinned and God will kill you because you killed one of his angels. Our kids are still alive, so yeah, that's not true.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing some of our creeping, crawling critters of Guinea Bissau.  It was fun taking the pictures in preparation of this blogpost.  Thank you to everyone that has asked us about our creeping, crawling critters!