We have nicknamed them the death birds. Properly known as Marabou storks, they are some of the ugliest creatures I have ever seen, with their scraggy bald necks and stick-like legs that bend in the middle as if hinged.
They gather wherever anything is festering. When we visited the markets in Mwanza, we found them congregated on heaps of rotting vegetables: the putrid smell complementing the birds’ funereal appearance.
But then someone suggested that they were probably a benefit to the area. Rubbish that is consumed cannot linger to spread infection and disease.
So they might look evil, but actually they are fulfilling a valuable service. There’s probably a lesson in there somewhere.