Tuesday, June 19, 2012

One of my favorite things about living on this side of the world is that you rarely go a day without something weird or amusing happening. You can always find someone being far too ambitious in what they have put on the back of their bicycle or you pass a shop with a creative name such as ‘Stress Reliever CafĂ©’ to make your day somewhat entertaining. However out here in the middle of the bush those moments occur less often. I find that I am more amazed by the wildlife than I am by anything else. At night we often hear lions, hyenas, elephant, owls, zebras and buffalo. When I get up to feed Corinne all the noises of the bush keep me alert and intrigued. Just a week ago we could hear buffalo munching on the grass directly around our house all night long and in the morning we opened our door to find five beautiful bulls watching us. We really didn’t bother them as they continued to eat their fill and slowly retreat further into the bush. I also keep my binoculars and bird book handy wherever I am so that I can continue to identify birds that I have never seen before. It may sound like a boring hobby to some of you but I challenge you to come and visit us and not get addicted to the bird life here.

Other than new bids and occasional animal visitors, our days at home are rather quiet. The camp that we are living in is still having the finishing touches done to it so there are a number of guys pounding and welding during the day which keeps us company. They are still working on the hot water and solar power but all the rest of the construction has been completed. I have been trying to use cloth diapers for Corinne as much as possible but it’s a little more difficult to keep up with when you don’t have a washer. So when we moved down here we brought a washer with us to set up in the camp. When we got it here we realized that it wouldn’t fit into the storeroom where it was supposed to be set up so we have had the guys make a small platform and covered area for it. The washer has not been a priority so right now we just have a washer sitting outside looking a little out of place. Last week the washer was set up enough to actually put a load in, however I didn’t realize that the drain hose wasn’t installed properly. So I started the machine and went back to the house to let it go through its cycles. About five minutes after it started, one of the workers came and told me that it wasn’t working. So I picked up Corinne who was only in her diaper and we went to see what was going wrong. It took everything in me not to laugh out loud as I realized that all work had stopped in the camp so that they could figure out what the problem was with this new machine. It didn’t even occur to me that most of these guys had never seen a washing machine before. So there I was trying to read the manual and inspect the machine that was surrounded by a crowd of bewildered construction workers. The whole time I was trying not to laugh at the image of this crazy white woman with a half dressed baby on her hip and her new fancy machine. Somehow collectively we figured it out and the machine is running beautifully. The only problem now is that the guys are so fascinated with it that it’s hard to stop them from pushing the buttons and resetting the cycles. Every night before they go, until there is a proper cover for it, they lovingly wrap the machine up in an old mattress and a piece of plastic to keep the dirt and sun off of it until I’m ready to use it again.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Well I think we are settled. Some of our boxes are unpacked and others have been unpacked and repacked into other boxes until we get some more furniture to hold everything. Our little house is fantastic and perfect for us. It will be home for a few months until other housing comes available. There are four small houses like ours in a small research camp that is being built to host researchers. We are the first to move in so we are working out the bugs – literally! The camp is about 12kms from the main office which means that we get a small game drive everyday to and from the office. I’m sure that will bring many adventures to our day. Not too many people have to watch out for elephants on their drive to work.
Corinne is settling in great. She has endured the cold temperatures at Bryan’s parents house (cold being 10-15 degrees)
and now coping with the heat of Tsavo (hot being 30-35 degrees). It’s hard to believe that she is 4 months old today. She is enjoying all the attention and often I have to go looking for her because someone has taken her to show her off. It’s great to see how well she makes friends and smiles at everyone. We made a grocery run into the nearest town this weekend and when we walked into the shop everyone stopped to see the adorable little white baby. I like to think that she is a show stopper because she is so cute but it’s probably because they are shocked at what a neglectful mother I am to not have her dressed in a hat, sweater and socks no matter how hot it is.

It is so great to be here on many levels and we are excited about the adventures that living and working here will bring. Now we just need some visitors …