Apple is doing well. She is quite popular with the guys and she gets plenty of visitors daily. I’ve determined that her favorite food is papaya (pawpaw) since she can’t snatch it out of my hand fast enough. She is still using Sheldon for a pillow and, although I would hate to deny her the only animal friend she has, I don’t think Sheldon is very happy and may have to be released back into the wild. Alastair wants to take him deep into the bush so that he is less likely to be found and killed for food. It doesn’t seem right, eating an animal that has no ability to run away from its hunter or defend itself. Sometimes I take Sheldon out of the pen and just walk around camp with him…he’s a great walking companion for me, pace-wise. On the other hand, the duck, presumably insulted that I never gave him a name, has flown the coop.
Days can get pretty hot here and the word humidity takes on a new meaning. Nonetheless, I really enjoy the weather. It is the rainy season so we get brief rains in the day or the evening that dump inordinate amounts of water down. Yet, the rain rarely lasts very long and it also ushers in some cool air. Lightning storms light up the night sky better than any fireworks display.
Life takes on a nice flow here at camp. The sun is up just before 7am and that is when we are expected to be in the mess for breakfast. The local workers start arriving in a bustling fashion and the geologists congregate in the office doing work on their computers. Lunch is always prepared at exactly 12 pm and all work resumes in the afternoon. Most workers finish at 4:30 (except for the kitchen and security), which brings a quietness back to camp. Alastair and the other geologists keep working until around 5:30 or 6. In the evening, everyone showers off the grime of the day and dresses in long clothing for the nighttime mosquitoes. Dinner is at 7pm and then some will stay to watch a television show, if anything good is on, or retire to their room. Then it is time to turn in under the protection of a mosquito net until morning arrives again. Every once in a while I feel like I’m living in a bubble, sort of like the movie ‘The Village’. Yet, a drive to Koidu cures me of that feeling quickly enough. It only occurred to me just the other day that, besides a brief encounter with Adama, the woman who kindly washes my clothes and cleans my room, I am completely surrounded by men.
I spend time either doing some data input for Alastair, teaching Mohammed a new confection in the kitchen, caring for a messy piglet named Apple, and any number of random camp activities. There always seems to be something to help out with, and sometimes I can even get lost in something trivial like picking limes off of a tree. I’m going to begin learning Krio, and hopefully my conversations with the guys will go a bit smoother. The people love to chat here and could waste hours talking about nothing at all. Even daily greetings are lengthy, but they are very meaningful in the culture here. It would be an affront to someone to walk by and not speak a greeting or inquire “How de body?” or “How you sleep?” I am developing friendships with the people I see regularly and appreciate their convivial nature. Regardless, if I drive through the village, small children will start running toward the vehicle in a panic, waving their hands and screaming “WHITE WO-MAN”…every time.