Monday, March 5, 2012

Running to the end

Many apologies for the lack of entries for almost 4 weeks. I have been in the thick of data collection for the last 4 weeks. I feel like a data vacuum with the amount we've managed to cram into the last few weeks. A volunteer called Joy, who has lived in Watamu for a while, has been helping and she is an angel. She enters all the data, processes it and is someone to discuss plans with and download to. I really couldn't have done nearly as much data collection alone. There's only two and a half weeks until I return to the freezer of Europe! Terrifying. For this blog I'll just briefly mention a couple of things which are quite cool.
The first is Chuk-Chuk. When I got back from Wasini, Andrew had a baby squirrel, who had been given to us by a local resident who found him fallen out of the nest in their garden and asked us to look after him. Chuk-Chuk as he became known, was an instant hit with everyone at Mwamba. He is extremely adorable and very quickly became completely domesticated, having no qualms about drinking out of people's glasses and running down their shirts when he wanted to be affectionate. Over time he's grown up fast and as he grew he became more and more cheeky, which some guests didn't appreciate; imagine if you came to a hotel where a rodent tried to eat your breakfast! We moved him to the tent that Andrew and I share back in the nature trail. At first he wasn't happy and spent all day hiding in the tent and pestering us when we got home. However these days he knows to get up early drink dew drops from the leaves and where to find bugs and nuts. He still comes home every evening and always greets me when I get into bed demanding a belly rub for at least 5 minutes, where he comically and very adorably sticks all his limbs out, while lying on his back with his eyes half closed in ecstasy!
Hanging out in the office with Chuk-Chuk
This weekend just gone, Joy, John, Ayoti and I went camping at the lookout point in the forest. We drove the car deep into the forest and parked it about 4km away and hiking the final bit up to the top of cliff, which looks over a spectacular vista of the whole forest and back to the sea. We cooked sausages and chicken kebabs (which were a new concept to John and Ayoti!). The sunrise was stunning. This time we had no issues with elephants, but I did see the incredibly rare Ader's Duiker, which was a first for me!
There's about a week and half of work to go and the heat is really really building for the rains. At night you can see the storm clouds flashing with lightening and feel it in the air. If its anything like last year, this heat will continue until we're all begging for mercy and then the rains will triumphantly come. Until then I and everyone else are very sweaty and agitated!

Left to Right: John, Joy and Ayoti


  1. I just read couple of post you have write (quite difficult and long for an illiterate spanish) and I can see how youre doing there (cool mate!) Why are you coming to freeze Europe so soon? Got any plans? Me im still in Madrid, studying, blablabla having quite fun. Best wishes to Chuk-Chuck (so cuteee)Hope you right and plenty amazing stories to

  2. Great blog again. I feel I am there with you. You should write a book "My animals and other family", so keep notes. I had to look up what an Ader's Duiker is a small deer like animal only habitat is in Zanzibar and the small coastal enclave in Kenya where you saw one. It's name in Swahili is Nunga. Well you learn something every day.