'A shock to the system' is a fair assessment of my first 48 hours here....the dorm alarm goes off at 06:15 and work starts promptly (or so heaven help you) at 07:00 and 2 hours work is done before there's even any snifter of breakfast. I am sure the routine will eventually click, but until then I am benefitting from a few power naps throughout the day!
The centre has over 500 monkeys (Samangos, Vervets and Baboons), 2 pot-bellied pigs, 3 ostriches, 3 baby barn owls, 5 dogs, 2 tortoises, 2 ducks and 1 duiker. 'Life on the farm' is certainly fun with this lot to entertain you.
I have hand-fed the barn owls, watched an autopsy on a baby vervet monkey, sampled bunnychow (apparently a local dish), brushed rat droppings off my bed at night and have a little baby vervet, called Malco who sleeps at the foot of my bed at night in a crate. I'm sure I'll eventually get used to the nocturnal shuffles....
The baby cage is filled with 15 baby vervets, which are just adorable (besides being mischievious) little things. My favourites are; Chicco whose trademark is latching on to a limb - it's all very cute unless you are rotered to clean their cage, in which case a monkey clasped around your ankle can be a disability, Bas-Jan who sucks his fingers, squeaks a lot and likes to sit on your shoulder and finally Malco, who is 'special' in more ways than one. As he has no hand/eye co-ordination due to a suspected knock from a car, he has to be hand fed and maintain human contact as he'll be at Riverside for life. The little chap has such a happy disposition even after the odd bump to the head or a spot of bullying by the other babies.
The weather has been disappointingly wet and wild so far. The sun has hardly made an appearance but seeing as we've had little spare time to benefit from any good weather, it's neither here nor there.