For various reasons, we’ve brought forward the date that we’ll be arriving in Harar (we were originally going to my wife’s village in west Shewa but she can’t contact her brother; he’s only in a service area one day a week; local phone network is unreliable; keen to see hyenas; etc.) So only two days to hyenas now!
I have a lot of questions in my mind. Foremost is whether Willi will still be around. I’ve written about this before, wondering whether he will follow the male-hyena imperative to emigrate to another clan where he might find potential mates. But then Yusuf’s wife told me on the phone that Willi is still visiting the feeding place. And there’s also the case of the nervous male,Tukwondilli, who is also born of the Sofi clan. He’s the exception to the rule as he has never emigrated (although he’s gone away on month-long sex tours at various times). Second is whether Willi will recognise me. A lot of people have asked me my opinion on this and I can’t help thinking about all the adults from my childhood who I would definitely fail to recognise now. But then, the most vivid memories go hand in hand with familiar smells and hyenas are sniffers extraordinaires. So possibly Willi will have a whiff of me and think, ‘Oh, it’s that odd human who I never had a chance to eat’. In which case we might just take up where we left off and he’ll resume chewing on my jacket and equipment. But this time I’m bringing the right equipment to deal with his persistent biting attempts.