Published: July 10th 2010July 10th 2010
Well, I have now been in Shimoni Kenya for a whole week, and it has been amazing. We got picked up from our hotel in Mombasa on Saturday and bused out to Shimoni. There were around 20 of us, so it made for a very fun bus ride. It was such an eye opener to look out and see the people and places go by the windows. I have travelled to developing countries before, but this was very different from any place I've been to before.
In Shimoni we got lunch and a briefing at the Shimoni Reef Hotel, which is a very nice place. Some of the GVI staff are based there. After eating I learned that for the first 4 weeks I would be doing forest work based in Shimoni Village. After that I have one week of community work in the various Shimoni schools, then it's over to Wasini Island for 3 weeks to do marine work, then out to the GVI satellite camp at Tsavo for one week of community development, then back to Wasini for 1 more week of marine. That ends the first ten week expo. After that I will get my intership placement. (Sorry Mum if that is a run on sentense)
The house in Shimoni is great. We have our own kitchen, toilet and shower. Plus we can do our own laundry. Utter luxury. The only thing is that the shower only has a curtain so that when the wind is very strong it lifts up and you might flash an innocent passer by in the hallway. XD Also, the house is home to probably hundreds of small geckos who walk around the walls and congregate around the lights when we turn them on at night.
The forest is also incredible. We had training on Monday, which was very intense. We learned about monkeys, and birds, and butterflies, and small mammals, and the different types of surveys we do. There is primate behaviour, community, bird point count, canopy cover, butterfly traps and sweep netting, and human disturbance.
On Tuesday we got to go out and learn how to do the different types of surveys, as well as train on how to use a panga. (machette) It's not that bad, but I don't have the necessary arm strength to cut down trees. On the upside I know how not to chop my leg off when I use one. Tuesday evening we had a test that we had to pass before we could go out in the field, and all of us did well.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were field days. Lots of trudging through the jungle, and it was so much fun. On Thursday we were out for 7 hours. We saw Colobus monkeys, Silvery Cheeked, Trumpeter, and Crowned Hornbills, as well as thousands of spiders. Being the lead walker and spotter meant that you got to walk through all of the spider webs that stretched across the path. I'm pretty sure I inhaled at least 10 of them.
Now it's the weekend, and it's much quieter. I'm working on my practicum assignments, as well as the assignments I have for my certification here, the biological BTEC. I'm not sure what it stands for, but it is the equivalent to a UK A-level, and shows that I can lead tropical wilderness surveys. Very cool indeed.
One last thing I must mention: the weather. Very hot, very muggy. I have never sweat so much in so short a time in my life. It has rained every night, and most mornings, but in the afternoon at least it gets very hot. Great for drying laundry, but it the sun it's too much, at least for me. The nice thing about it is that you can have cold showers and it feels wonderful.
Next week is more forest, and it should be exciting and fun as well.