Before long he has a good crowd. He's calling them kind of the way you'd call chickens, with a repetitive sound. The dassies are scampering from all over their little rock metropolis. For some reason he's tossing the carrots right into the latrine. Not something I would do, but the dung being sun-dried, perhaps it's innocuous. The dassies look fat and healthy, and they're herbivores, after all...their droppings aren't so noxious.
I am consumed with curiosity about this man, and his relationship with the hyraxes. I consider for a long time whether to approach him. I want the story so badly...how long has he been feeding them? Does he know them individually? Does he come here every day? How come you throw the carrots right in their poop? I can't help it...I always want more story.
So I climb down until I'm within earshot and do the old super-awkward, hesitant, "Excuse me, sir. May I ask you a question?"
And get no response. Hmm. Maybe he doesn't hear well. I try again, a bit louder. Awkward!
Still no response. He doesn't even register being spoken to.
At this point I have to consider three distinct possibilities.
1. He's deaf.
2. He speaks only Afrikaans and doesn't want to engage me in English.
3. This is his church, and he's just here to commune with animals. He doesn't come here to talk to curious tourists.
And who am I to disturb this communion of souls? Leave him alone, Zick.
Leave room for mystery.
I'm going back to South Africa in September 2016. Wanna come along? Click here for details.