I wrote journal entries with the idea that they were going to become blog posts, so in the interest of not wasting that content I'm going to transcribe one here. Some of the information is stuff I've already told you, but it was written in Africa! Which makes it better than those namby pamby entries written in London! Yeah! Okay. Done now.
We woke up at 5am this morning while it was still dark at the ECCO house (already this morning seems ages away) we packed up our stuff and drank fruit tea while the sun rose. Then we tumbled into the van and drove toward Banjul. There was a large, imposing arch- which is how we knew we were in the capital. Buildings were white with green trim and small signs that said things like "democratic assembly" and "fisheries and agriculture bureau"
We got in line for the ferry just as the market for the queue was setting up. Tara, our expert haggler, bought us 5 loaves of bread since we had eaten nothing at breakfast. Many people were walking around selling various wares: dubious looking perfume, assorted watches, bras on a stick and the like. I bought a baseball cap because the sun was so bright. It turned out that it unzips into a visor- so I am quite pleased with that.
I love sleeping under mosquito nets. I love the feeling of being enclosed and protected while still being able to see all around.
We arrived at the camp just before lunch. Once we crossed the river, filled up with gas, and continued driving the scenery finally stopped looking like India and began to look more like what I expected Africa to look like: lone leafy trees amongst bushed and grass. Grass roofed huts and fences made from reeds and sticks rather than concrete blocks.
Everything is fenced in here. Empty plots of land are fenced in, housed in the middle of nowhere amongst the bush are fenced in. The camp and various sections are the camp are fenced in and so on.
When we arrived the people who work here were lounging about and laughing. They laugh quite a lot. One woman, whose name I don't know (Yuma), is always making jokes and imitation people. When I awoke after my "it is waaaay too hot" nap and wandered back into the living clearing she was telling crude jokes. Her English is not terribly good, but her hand gestures are plenty graphic enough.
It is Mango season! Only just beginning so some are not very ripe- but mangoes- all the time mangoes that we rip the skin off with our teeth like the savage mango hunters we are.
When we first arrived the manager sat us down, introduced his staff, had us introduce ourselves and then told us how very very very very very very very very (etc.) important we were. Basically: we bring money into the village.
After nap time he sat us around again and let us ask questions. It was dusk and his accent is difficult for me to follow- so I stared up at the base of the leaf cover from the frees and watched as dozens and dozens of bats swooped around and ate mosquitoes. It was beautiful.