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Published: October 6th 2012
Internship is moving forward again with new fuel after my supervisor and housemate Juliet arrived back from holidays. We managed here without her; but it was a bit challenging at times.. Though we worked together with the staff and the local students, I was kind of the person with project money and had to do some decision making, too. I realized (again) that these things are not inherently “me”, and that I can be very indecisive at times – a characteristic which is not so desirable when needing to get things done in a team. It was overall a good learning process..! And now the students are already starting data analysis. So the past few weeks we’ve been in the office a lot; planning, analyzing, trying to get on top of things.. There is a bit more field work to be done, some focus group discussions in the villages about certain bushmeat alternatives. But this will probably be in late October; now it is important to start pulling some strings together from earlier studies and recently collected data, and seriously write some reports.
It’s been all about Diversity of things in the past weeks.. First of all there was an
actual biodiversity week here in the Spanish cultural center in early September. Although my role in preparation was limited to assisting CI in the organizational activities due to late reacting, it was fun though very busy to be a part of it. There were documentaries shown about conservation in EG, a photo exhibition about Bioko island, presentations and finally a round table discussion about priorities of conservation in EG. Many main conservation organizations or bodies were to participate; people from the different ministries and NGOs came, though number of participants was fairly low. I represented ZSL and so it was a proper out-of-the-comfort-zone experience for me trying to participate, in Spanish, in discussion with these men and women who have years and years of experience about conservation here and elsewhere. It wasn’t quite as scary though as I could have imagined.. The actual outputs of the week were not groundbreaking, but at least there were always some people participating in the events and contributing in discussion.
Saturday was a kids day! It was lots of fun; the children seemed so eager about the different activities – dancing, environment-related games, face painting, planting plants, a nature-quiz.. The kids here are
amazing, they don’t really complain about things or don’t so easily get upset. And they all seem to have the sense of rhythms and dance movements..!
The past week was a similar one in the capital Malabo. Juliet participated this time, with one staff member and a new intern who arrived just in time for this event. I stayed in Bata, trying to work with the students on their projects.. since it was their last week here before needing to return to Malabo to continue with studies, and thus I could still have assisted them with data analysis.. Well, they were not around that much, so this part of the work was not too successful (in a bit of a hurry we managed to get the least bits of data and certificates exchanged with them when seeing them off at the airport). But, I got ahead a little bit with “my” part, the socioeconomic data I’ve been working with the past months. We need to have some of the results of the students projects at hand, before a bigger workshop that most probably will be held in December.
I am likely to stay until that workshop; it is
actually the same one we were originally supposed to have in June..! It is postponed because all activities seem to take longer than planned. But, the whole point of doing so much of these studies on the alternatives before implementing the projects is that it’s earlier been seen that without enough understanding of the local situations, the alternatives projects may easily fail to show a real conservation or social impact.. Anyway, I want to help with finally preparing this larger report and organizing the workshop – and will be back in Europe after that, somewhere mid-December most probably.
We got to admire some biodiversity in the forest again, in the national park of Altos de Nsork where I already was once before, during one field trip to see the community assistant in a remote village close to Gabon. We went just for a day with a Spanish woman who wanted to prepare for her possible gorilla research by visiting gorilla habitats in this country. We enjoyed the physical challenge, the rain and some sun; and most of all being amazed by the diversity of the forest.. this time we didn’t see monkeys but we heard them on multiple occasions.
We also found many tracks and feeding traces of gorillas, which made Ester very happy! We admired the flowers, the butterflies, the spiders.. These forests are still so foreign to me, but are becoming more familiar little by little – and they never fail to provide a refreshing moment away from the sounds, smells and certain “senselessness” of the busy city-life.
Our host in Esong took us to the nearby village one evening to experience a local funeral ceremony. There were lots of people, drums, music, drinks and traditional dances.. for the event that it was, it felt very lively and loud to me; but it was amazing to experience this kind of celebration..!
Ariane the new intern from France is here with us since last week! She’s been introduced to African life through the biodiversity week in Malabo, evenings out here in Bata, trying out local “pepe soup” with fish and yuca (manioc), and falling ill with malaria – as she puts it, it was most probably the very first mosquito she encountered in Equatorial Guinea that managed to infect her (because the incubation period for malaria usually is at least eight days). Two interns of CI
had malaria at the same time..! falling ill out of compassion?? Truly it was probably a case of ineffective medication or not covering ones skins well enough during the nights..
For me, for the friends around, it’s felt like life’s been so full, very intense here.. thus the title. Some things have been tough, and if many things that cause stress or sorrow to someone follow each other in a short time, it makes you wonder why, how it can be that way. But then there are equally those great, lovely things to be happy about, that pull you to the other end – to extreme happiness and love. It’s all good since it’s part of life.. as long as we can see past these feelings, not be overwhelmed by them - be truthful to ourselves, and the very core of the universe, if you wish.. we just all tend to cope with these things differently. Perhaps some of us are here to assist in finding this balance, seeing the light through the clouds in every moment.. This good friend here is one of these “warriors of light”, making others feel blessed around her and helping them to see
and feel the good around them as well. I’m so grateful for having had Shannon around – one of these “soul mates” I’ve encountered in life, and one of the strongest and kindest persons I’ve met. And equally am so happy about all the other friends, loved ones, acquaintances and random people with whom it’s been amazing to experience moments of excitement, doubt, peace and joy.. Frankly I’ve always had people like that around; so much to be grateful for..! What more could one hope for.
Wish that to all you loved ones out there, the diversity of life in its entire sparkling spectrum is unraveling itself gracefully..! have the courage to live it all.
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