It’s not a bad place, really. We have plenty of space outside, and when the weather’s not too hot, it’s good to go out and play. My favourite spot is in the sand dunes – you can throw sand about, and bury yourself in it. Mum seems to enjoy us being out of the way and not getting under her feet, though she does fret about us a bit, when we’re out of sight.
Our village is a friendly, close-knit community. Our immediate neighbours are really part of our extended family. We know them well, and visit them quite a lot. As food is often scarce, when someone strikes it lucky, it makes sense to share it. News travels fast, and before they know it, all the cousins will be round for a feast!
However, there are others about, who are different from us. Our village doesn’t like strangers – they are never welcome! I don’t know where they come from, and you can never be quite sure whether they’re in the neighbourhood or not – it pays to keep your eyes open, even when you’re just larking about. They can be dangerous – some unpleasant things have happened that I’d rather not dwell upon. If we see them, we go back home straight away.
My two big brothers are much braver than I am. I think they take unnecessary risks, just to show off to each other. For example, I’ve seen them teasing a scorpion something rotten. Mind you, they can still run if it looks as though the scorpion might get them. Scorpions can do a lot of damage, even though they aren’t that large, and I think they deserve respect!
Once, when I was younger, the rains came, and our whole environment was transformed. Overnight, tiny dried-up stalks turned into beautiful flowers, and the sand-dunes became really colourful. It made a big impression on me. Lots of funny insects appeared and, for a short while, there was plenty for everyone to eat. Mind you, we found out the hard way that some of the prettiest flowers made you ill.
But now, things are back to normal and life goes on as it always has. In the cool of the morning or early evening, the desert is the most beautiful place I know. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change my situation for anything – I think being a meerkat must be the best thing in the world!
C H Moller, 09Nov2004.