The weekend is coming, the weekend is coming!!

*** I wrote this last week before the computer crashed, and just found it saved in draft form. I thought I’d lost it all ******

Well, lots going on here.

A new volunteer co-ordinator has been assigned and is living with us in the camp. His name is Oscar, and he has worked here a lot it seems. He also has his own safari business and is a registered Professional Hunter and a Registered Culler. He is a breath of fresh air and a great ‘new broom’. He’ll have us completely organised in no time flat. He is ex-military as is every male in South Africa, I think.

He has already blown through the kitchen and computer room, setting everything straight and throwing out all sorts of old stuff left over from countless waves of previous volunteers and researchers.

I was teasing him today because the word through the grapevine was that he was single and very rich. A pretty attractive combination to a bunch of single young women living in a bush camp <(^0^)> He assured me that though he was single, the rich part was someone’s daydream. He’s just a generous and gentlemanly guy though, so really welcome.

The computer at the camp is down and out again, so I can’t post any pictures right now – but on the plus side, I wrote Sony head office and they have sent me a link that may allow me to download my video. Keep your fingers crossed – and then I’m not sure if this site will take video, but if not, I’ll go onto one of the other sites and set them up for you all.

Saw some more great adaptive behaviour this morning. Got up at 6 a.m. to get a shower and to do some hand laundry before school, and saw a flycatcher-type bird sitting on a branch just a couple feet from the brightest of the night lamps on the path. It was bright enough for him to be out, and still dark enough for the moths to be out. He was sitting their watching the light and when a moth came, he swooped in and ate it. That light is like a Mickey D’s drive-through for this guy. Definitely fast food!! I cracked up and scared him away.

Oscar tells us that the monkeys can tell the difference between human males and human females and will attack the females if they have food. Hormone scents? I don’t know, but just let him try it . . . Or maybe I should just use common sense and keep the food locked away?? I guess . . . .

The rest of the volunteers have gone to a resort in Mozambique for the weekend. I was supposed to go too, but there weren’t enough rooms available, so I will go some other time. Meanwhile, I am going to spend the weekend going on game drives and trying to see some of the park. AND – I’m trying to get my umzukulu (grandson) to rent his uncle’s bakkie so he can take me here and there that I’ve been and wanted to take photos, but couldn’t because there were others along. I’m trying to get him to name his price for a day’s guiding as I don’t want to take advantage of his day off without pay, but it was a bit of a job trying to explain to him that if he didn’t set a price, either he might feel obligated if I paid too much, or if I didn’t pay enough he might feel cheated, when the problem really was that I just don’t have a feeling for the money and salary levels yet. So he finally ‘got it’ and said he would first find out if the bakkie was available, then we’d settle the rest.

I think it was the fact that he is always driving me around that caused the two unpleasant incidents I mentioned earlier. It is a source of anger in most poorer countries, I think, that “rich” old (or even young, though the young tend to be just ‘tropic mad’ and really think they’re in love or something) white women and men come and dazzle their most promising young people with what amounts to trinkets and cause problems in the community.

** This is all that was saved. I’ll try to finish the thought later.**


1 Comment »

  1. Lise said

    Hey Marilyn:

    I read your comment about sending grass mats home… I don’t have a special customs thing set up for my company as of yet…. most people I know who bring goods in just send it regular post or courier… you can deal with customs if and when they contact you on arrival…

    You’re bound to feel the blues now and again… I was surprised that you hadn’t before now… So much is going on for you and you need to sort it all out in your head slowly..! After a day of activity in Gambia, I usually need a down day just to think things through.. it can be exhausting.. I’ve been in contact with a woman working with the Peace Corp in Mali recently who feels kind of useless… I think what you’ve done with the school is good.. ask them what they need and when…

    Are you working with the animals at all?

    Keep on keepin’ on, as you always say… chin up… we’re all thinking about you and admiring you!!


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