It has been so agonising to see the horrors inflicted on Haiti the last few days.
When I first heard of that magnitude 7 earthquake and pictures slowly coming out, I feared the worse for them even with the scarcity of news at the beginning. It was clear enough in the broken houses that the reinforcement steel was less than minimal. My foundation was Civil/Structural engineering before I drifted into Project Planning and Project Controls.
In a desperately poor country like Haiti, corners were cut in the construction, and with the the lack of government, proper building codes were not, or could not be enforced. And those early photos were the buildings of her capital city Port-Au-Prince with more money than those of their towns. What about the poorer towns then.
I fear the worse for them when the picture slowly emerge.
The people there paid a heart breaking price.
My own problems just seem to be so insignificant.
Please help the people of Haiti if you can.
more photos in flickr folder "Visit to the Jabris"
It was on Thursday 14th January 2010 that we all visited Mohammed Jabri and his family in their home. As said before, just 5 minutes drive away.
In addition to Asia, they have another daughter Amina at home.
I was trying to induce Riam to fly to Asia. Even though Riam refused, you can see the delight on Asia face in seeing Riam again. Riam took sunflower seeds from her hand though even if those bribes were not enough to get her to fly to her. Stepping up was a lot more easy.
I gave them a crash course into the mindset of a flighted parrot. That is so essential to understanding and living with them. That was along the lines of what I wrote in Tinkerbell Legacy in early 2005 when I was travelling in Laos trying to get over my heartach in leaving Tinkerbell.
Tinkerbell Legacy - Living with a flying parrot - Rant 03 (a flighted parrot mentality)
In that context, I spoke of how to approach Riamfada with dignity and respect and how to give her beak rubs that Riam seemed to like from all of them. I spoke of the need to approach slowly from the front or side and not from the back. From the back might spook any parrot who can turn their head and bite with lightning speed. Always to ask her first and watch if she indicated it would be ok to do so. The body language of parrot is so clear to see. If Riam refused by withdrawing back even slightly, do not persist as that will annoyed them. Just try again a while later. They all agreed even they can have bad days when they are not in the mood. But Riam seemed to like them.
Then it was their daddy turn, watched by Amina.
I like to prepare people for the worse. What if a parrot really bite you. Not that I expect Riamfada to do that if she is given consideration and dignity due to a sentient being of equal standing. I wrote of this in Tinkerbell Legacy in
Tinkerbell Legacy - Rant 08 How to avoid getting badly bitten by your bird
And made them practise it until it was clear to all of them
Mr Jabri was more keen on spoiling Riam above.
In their house was this beautiful spiral staircase going up three floors. You know my villa is only one floor. So I took this chance to get Riamfada to fly up vertically. She literally had to power her way up to me
This is a beautiful sequence that started here
Riam did her best the first time. It might be the spiral and the narrow space she had to do that in. She stopped halfway and landed on the balustrade, saw me and then flew to me.
See that in the sequence starting
and the next couple of pages.
Riamfada then stunned us all as to how fast she could think. I called her again up the spiral. She flew away from the staircase into a hall and then she turned back. That was to gather speed on horizontal axis and with that speed, soared up the spiral to me.
Sequence seen here
In addition, I was hidden from her by the spiral of the staircase. When I called her, it was also a hide&seek recall. That will be recalls sight unseen. I had done that as matter of routine at home with Riamfada with me in kitchen and she at the hall. I was very pleased in a totally new and strange environment, she executed that so well and using her brains to go back to gain speed instead of just using brute force to make her way to me.
I had been thinking of total free flight for her for some time. You have seen the environment at Buwah. With clear visibilty and good distances. And no horrendous slopes of 45 degree that forced me to walk like penguin for next few days. There were the Hajar mountains of course. Miles away that hopefully she would not fly to.
I had already shortened the body leash line from her harness to just an inch long for the last week in readiness.
It was later in the day that we all went to Buwah again. Riamfada then did her first voluntary free flights. Nothing like the 'accidental' free flight incident at Siefa Al Sheikh. That will be the next report.
I spoke and spoke with the Jabris on basic stuff until the nicotine level was uncomfortaby low in my bloodstream. I decided to take a ciggie break and step out of the door. I also wanted to leave Riam with all of them with my wife keeping a eye and ready to call me back. After a while, Riam decided to do volutionary flight, flight on her own accord. They thought she was looking for me. She flew down the hall, turned the wall and flew on the other side and came back. To be spoiled rotten by all of them. Less their dad who courteously accompanied me to their garden.
I came back in to resume my talk. I told them the importance of grooming among grey parrots. That they are flock creatures and they would groom each other in friendship. By coming to a family, the family will now be her family and to groom each other via head rubs. I showed them how to stroke her back, explaining that was the necessary precursor to putting the harness on her.
They all had formal wear on as was the practise in receiving visitors. So that was only a lecture I gave with no chance of trying that in practise.
All too soon two hours went by. I declined their kind invitation to join them for lunch.
Riam was harnessed and taken out of the house to walk around their compound.
Riamfada accepting a chilly pod plucked from the garden by Amina. I assured them chilly was good and healthy for parrots and birds. Riam loved it, and ate it after first deftly separating the stalk of leaves from the chilly pod.
more photos in flickr folder "Visit to the Jabris"
If what I wrote help you and you like to help, give a thought
for the wildlife sharing our planet.
Do write that cheque to Gerald Durrell wildlife trust
I am a life member of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Do join us to do
whatever we can for the wildlife that shared our planet.
or to any wildlife conservation body of your choice