First, this scene is one uniquely African. A man rests in his brightly coloured fishing boat  while his wife takes care of their baby while keeping an eye on a buffalo. Buffalo are one of the fiercest animals in Africa and they will actively defend themselves and members of the herd. However, this old bull didn’t seem to care about anything other than sleeping. Once a bull gets dethroned, he leaves the herd and lives out the rest of his days on his own or with other displaced males. This one seemed to have set up his territory in a small village in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

However, the more interesting fact, which seems to be unique to many countries in Africa, is that in general African babies cry substantially less than babies in North America. Repeatedly, this has been one of the only saving graces on my long, overcrowded bus rides throughout East Africa, where everyone is packed like sardines into the buses.  I often wondered if this was just my own observation or if it had been studied. Indeed, it has been studied by a man named Ron Barr out of the University of Montreal. He and other researchers concluded that it is due to the fact infants are carried around in direct contact with their mothers for at least the first three months, fed much more often and provided immediate attention whenever they are in distress (as compared to North American infants that are often placed in a crib or only held for limited periods of time). Hopefully this catches on in other parts of the world as the last thing anyone wants is to listen to a crying baby!

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