Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Little Things

* Muzungu (foreigners) are like Pokemon cards to the kids here. They have to meet every one and shout for their friends to see. The rarer kinds (such as the clip-on-sunglasses muzungu, the bookshelf-assembling muzungu, or the chimp-calling muzungu) are a real treat. Every time kids see us doing something new, they either stare or burst out laughing. The American teachers are a little offput by how quiet the students are, then how they laugh at just about anything they do.

* There are always primate researchers stalking the Colobus monkeys around the field station. They also carry foil triangles on long poles, which I imagined to be some sort of mirror on a stick, to see how monkeys react. I found out yesterday that these are to collect urine.

* MUBFS warned us about baboons, and advised "they can't open doors, so just leave yours closed" My comment: "didn't they say that in Jurassic Park?"

* People ask sooo many questions. The Jurassic Park comment is one of my parody questions. "What if there's a solar flare and GPS stops working?" "The trail won't be like Jumanji, will it?" "Is there a store in Fort Portal where I can buy helium, wire mesh, and a nail?" I'm not sure if these questions are appreciated or not.

* They are putting a new concrete floor in the standard latrines, so they've unlocked the nice porcelain restroom the teachers get. Walking in there was like a entering a whole other world. Pooing in there was even better.

* I went on a nightwalk with a chimp researcher, two teachers, and their two daughters. Didn't see nocturnal primates, but we did see fireflies (called "stars"), honking bats, and the incredible night sky. Their younger daughter pointed out a moving star and hoped it was the space station. According to a search on WolframAlpha, it could have been!

* A boy was walking his bike up the same hill as I. He spoke English well, and we had a quick chat about Kanyawara School.

* We're done with cinnamon bread, so I've moved on to corn tortillas and sweet bread lumps that taste like plain donuts. Avocado and tomato are good, too.

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