Tomorrow we are supposed to be going to Nyawech, but to get there we must cross the river. Last Monday, my translator waded across and it was just below his knees on the way there and up to his thighs on the way back, so we can’t get there without the boat. The boats should arrive this week, so as we can’t get to Nyawech tomorrow we will spend the day erecting our tents and making sure they are clean and in order.
The Ethiopian staff that were here for the last wet season told me that we often get stuck and have to camp overnight! Apparently the boats break down, run over fishing nets that get stuck in the prop, etc … so they spent many nights on the banks of the river waiting for repairs or help. We are also not allowed to travel at night so help, if it comes, won’t be till the next day! Terrific! That was NOT in my job description.
Anyway, true to their word we do have five tents which we will all have to carry, along with a survival box of water, biscuits and my fishing rod! The thing about the anacondas is not true according to the team.They are not anacondas they are PYTHONS!!!! Yes pythons big enough to eat buffalo!!! And apparently last year the boat was attacked by a croc! Many BIG crocs are coming with the rain!
We have just started getting a few snakebites in the clinics and health center, mostly from vipers, but there are also two varieties of cobra here: the black and the king. Most bites happen at night, and yes they like the warmth and comfort of sleeping humans! At the moment our compound is covered in grass as the tukuls are getting re-roofed. It’s a mess, and a concern when walking at night.
The other night something hit me in the head while I was in bed. As I’ve seen rats in my tukul I thought it was a rat, but the second time it hit me in the back of my head, through the mosquito net, by about a foot. I screamed like a girl and Jean-Baptiste came to the rescue, finding me on all fours in the middle of my bed unwilling to get out from under my net. Together we inspected the room and found that some of the ceiling had come down and the mud wall had a big hole in it. Still we found nothing and put it down to a bat. The thing that worried me was that I couldn’t find out what it was and as it had hit me twice, through the net, I felt it was an attack! I’ll move to another tukul when the one I want is redone as it has the best breeze. Also the door shuts properly! Come what may I think it’s a lot safer in the tukul than on the banks of the Bora River in a flimsy one-man tent, with pythons, crocs and six big, burly men who have several wives they bought with cows!
Apart from Betty, the two-meter iguana, and her three-to-four-foot-long babies, we have genets here in the compound. They are wild cats, with a leopard-like coat and a long tail, but I have yet to see one. Poor Suzanna, our doc, has had one shitting in the foot-washing bowl in her room each night! Lucky her I say although she’s not too happy about it. They eat rats and mice AND Chickens, so I lock our chooks up in the old shower each night! We even got our first eggs so they are good chickens and well worth the weeks’ pay!