Through our neighborhood goats are constantly ‘vocalizing’ throughout the day it seems we only notice the sounds in the evening as things quiet down around the GVI compound. On our first night as I was trying to fall asleep it wasn’t the goat conversations that I noticed so much as fellow new volunteer Alex’s laugh every time he heard the goats. Each goat call – one goat in particular makes a sound unlike any I’ve heard before, a kind of high pitched and extended vibrating burp – was immediately followed by laughter that Alex just couldn’t contain. As entertaining as the goat’s noises were it was Alex’s instant laugh response that made the whole scenario so funny.
But Alex and Brett weren’t laughing after having to carry Kassim out of the forest late afternoon the next day. Kassim had fallen (not tripping on coral rag but while walking on a relatively clear, flat path) and claimed to have broken his leg which we later learned was only a drill. Unfortunately the drill was not revealed to us volunteers until after Georgia (stifling her laugh when Kassim theatrically fell) had splinted the leg and Brett and Alex had carried him to the road to meet the staff van that was supposedly coming for us. A helpful local even took a turn carrying Kassim as the rest of the neighbors looked on in confusion which eventually turned to laughter when it all turned out to be a hoax. Having already endured a morning of heavy rains and then losing our transect markers near the end of the day I was mostly looking forward to the ride home the staff van would provide. Alas as Kassim was not really injured we walked back into town, the endless chorus of “jambo” from the children along the road giving us more than enough reason to smile.
|Shelbi, Sharla and Brett peruse a tortoise|
Other than the domesticated animals – goats, chickens, ducks, etc. – we new volunteers were treated to various wildlife sightings from our first arrival in Shimoni. Brett spotted the infamous Angola Black and White Colobus monkeys in the trees above Smuggler’s, GVI’s bar-restaurant of choice, during our tour around the village. We also saw Yellow Baboons, Syke’s Monkeys, tortoises (including a baby no larger than the size of half a lime) and more birds that I can count including amazingly prehistoric-looking hornbills which I had never seen before. And apparently the first whale sightings of the season have been reported so I am looking forward to a continuation of our action-packed first few days. Right now we are off to Wildlife Club at the Shimoni Primary School where the students will be drawing pictures depicting what mangroves mean to them and their community. They have been learning all about mangroves in the weeks prior and the winning artists will receive prizes…should be a good time!
Sharla Dodd - Forest project volunteer