Jane Goodall Institute Journal Posts Connie and John 2: Daily Life

Journal Excerpts – Daily Life

5Mar06 The environmental education centre at Kalinzu is surrounded by the Tea Estate and banana plantations, lovely until you realize it was once forest and home to chimpanzees. Our room is half again the size of our tent, none too clean and not terribly well ventilated but I am sure it will be fine once we clean it up and get organized. No electricity, a 2-burner propane stove for cooking. The “shower room” has no water or plumbing but has room for basin baths. The pit toilet has no throne, just a rectangular hole in the ground. This will take some getting used to!

17Mar06 It’s amazing how much dirty laundry accumulates, what with shorts in the morning, long trousers, socks and shoes for bike trips and public appearances and warm tops for post-thunderstorm cold times. And it really becomes a chore; hand-wash in one basin, first rinse in a second basin and a third and final rinse. Wring out the water after each process and hang on the line. Glad we brought clothes pins. The clothes must be getting cleaner because the water is filthy.

29Mar06 After lunch we went to Bushenyi on an errand run and I found a place to get my hair cut. Not since basic training have I paid so little (Ush 1000, about 55 cents) or had so little input into the style. I felt like a piece of topiary – he used clippers for the whole job. It went well right to the end when he sawed off the bangs right at the hairline, African style.

8April06 It’s nice when we can sit outside to eat. The weaver birds have swapped nest building for chick rearing and the swallows are gathering mud for their nests. While the pied wagtails do their avian can-can on the ground the cinnamon-chested bee-eaters dive from their perches for a final snack, green backs and cinnamon undersides glowing in the dying rays of the sun. Who needs television?

9April06 Just as when your appetite changes and you begin to crave things your body needs – fresh veggies, fruit, fats, chocolate – travel causes a craving for certain reading material. As my list shows, mine is interspersed with a good deal of junk food, enjoyable but not sustaining. We have either by chance or forethought brought along or found some nourishing fare, especially suited for this trip – travel, history, adventure and even foreign languages.

20April06 Our worries about traveling to Busingiro and moving into a banda were unfounded. It’s plenty large for our beds, storage and cooking. It is in a small clearing in the forest, far removed from the education centre, quiet and much more what we expected than our lodging at Kalinzu. And there are sit-down toilets in the latrine.

8May06 The banda is circular, about 20 feet in diameter and is set in a clearing about 100 meters from the education centre. It has a conical roof of thatch and looks like a wheel of cheese with a piece cut out. That’s for the door and despite the three screened windows, it is pretty dark inside. We cleaned and swept, removed excess beds, built shelves, hung mossie nets, and generally made it home. The outside needs cleaning – hundreds of baboon handprints, hence its name “Baboon Barracks” but we could have called it “Butterfly Pavilion” instead. They are beautiful and everywhere.

11May06 We got the propane fridge working and I am sipping a cold beer and am freshly showered thanks to an afternoon thunderstorm. It is like being a kid again, soaping up out in the rain in your birthday suit. There is plenty of privacy and room enough for us to bathe together. Oh, that we were young newlyweds.

23May06 It rained hard again as it can only in the tropics, the perfect storm for a shower - but not if your roof leaks. More drips, more clean-up and more plastic sheeting tacked up. So much for the charm of a thatched roof.

25June06 Our little clearing in the forest is quiet, just the electric hum of insects and the chirping of unseen birds. It’s a peaceful life, the tempo our own now that the projects are moving along and the deadlines have passed.

10July06 Aside from Connie’s reaction to a spider bite and an ear infection I got from a dunking in the Nile, we have been quite healthy. Our muzungu (white) friends haven’t fared as well. They have had malaria, bilharzias, diarrhea, fleas, mango fly cysts, giardia, and tsetse fly bites, so we have been lucky, careful or both. We have had all the recommended shots, us mosquito nets religiously, take vitamins and anti-malarial medication. Here’s to our continued good health.

6August06 Wallace Stegner’s character writes from a 19th Century mining camp in “Angle of Repose,” “I would rather be picturesquely uncomfortable than comfortably dull.” And we couldn’t agree more. Despite the inconveniences – 50 meters to the toilet, twice that to the centre and the fridge, carrying 40 liters of water another 100 meters and bucket showers – living here at Busingiro is a most relaxing and enjoyable experience. The temperature here near the equator is comfortable even at noon. We are free of the sounds of civilization. Our neighbors are monkeys, birds, and butterflies and we are sure to miss our time in this garden of Eden.

No comments:

Real Time Web Analytics