This blog post is especially for my lovely granddaughter Alyssa, because I know her mum reads all the blog entries to her, but if you are very good, I’m sure she won’t mind if you read it too!
THE STORY OF THE LITTLE WHITE-FACED OWL
This is a true story, that happened in The Gambia in April 2012. In The Gambia, the toilets are different from the toilets in the UK – they don’t have water in them, but people dig a huge pit instead, so that everything can turn back to soil again. You might wonder what a toilet pit has to do with a story about a little White-Faced Owl, but if you read on you will find out. Lots of visitors are interested on how the toilets work in The Gambia, so Lamin dug a special pit so that they could see what it looks like.
One day Numo (Lamin’s brother), came and told us that a little White-Faced Owl was in this big pit behind one of the huts. We went to look, and sure enough, sitting in the corner was a very small owl, who wasn’t looking at all happy. He glared hard at us and hissed very crossly. We thought that he may need a rest before flying away, but the next day he was still there, so we thought we had better rescue him.
Nanna wondered about climbing down into the pit, but it was very deep, and she thought she might not be able to get out again, but when Lamin came home he hopped down into the pit, and very gently picked the little owl up.
|The Little White-Faced Owl was a bit frightened of Lamin!|
|The little White-Faced Owl hissed angrily.|
The owl didn’t really like being picked up, and hissed angrily, but Lamin opened his wings very carefully to see if one of them was hurt. They both looked alright, but the little owl clearly couldn’t fly, so we knew something was wrong.
Lamin remembered that many years ago he had owned a parrot, and so he went to find the old parrot cage, so that the little owl could sit in it safely. The little owl wasn’t very sure he would like the cage, but he soon settled down.
|Lamin checked the little owl’s wings carefully.|
|The little owl’s wings looked alright, but he couldn’t fly.|
Once the owl was in the cage, we put him in a hut where it was dark (owls like the dark, you know). All night, the little White-Faced Owl called and called ‘Twhoo…Twhit Twhoo’ to his friends, but in the morning he still couldn’t fly, so Lamin phoned his friend Bakary, who works at a Forest Park, and asked if he could take the owl and make him better. Bakary said we should bring the owl to the Forest Park.
|In the morning the little White-Faced Owl still couldn’t fly.|
The next morning we all got ready to go, but the parrot cage was too big to fit in the car. Lamin carefully put the little White-Faced Owl on the dashboard at the front of the car, where he sat looking very puzzled. But when the car started he got frightened, because he’s never been in a car before, so NanaPat held him, but he was holding on so tightly with his sharp claws that it hurt her fingers, so we stopped at the nearby shop to ask if they had a cardboard box.
|The little White-Faced Owl was very puzzled at being in a car.|
The shopkeeper went and had look, and came back with a box that was just the right size, so Lamin gently put the little owl into the box and closed the lid so that it was dark (owls like the dark, you know). We drove all the way to the Forest Park, and when we got there Bakary took the box with the little White-Faced Owl and promised to look after him.
For a long time, we didn’t hear any more about the little White-Faced Owl, but then this Christmas Bakary came to visit us at Balaba. He told us the the little owl had got better, and was able to fly again, so Bakary let him fly back into the forest. So now, if you are out in the Gambian forest at night (owls like the dark, you know), and if you listen very carefully, you might hear the little White-Faced Owl calling ‘Twhoo…Twhit Twhoo’ to all his friends in the forest.
And that is the story of the little White-Faced Owl.