A fitting end to the the day here, is the staff mess at night and in particular seeing what will be attracted to the only lights for miles. Dazed bats are pretty regular, flying in, bumbling around, then flying out again but the insects tend to occur in once off waves of whatever has hatched at the time. There was the night of the kumbi kumbi (the flying termites), nights featuring huge numbers of single species of moth and then there was the night of the two inch long beetles, something like longicorns. You could hear the vibration from their wings from thirty metres, and I quickly learned to be cautious of the approaching buzz, as the impending collision with a light bulb would result in a two inch beetle spiralling on a random decent, often into my food or face.
I've mentioned a few times the fungi here and just check out the photos, the moisture of the place allows for an awesome collection of shapes and colours.Though they are not to everyone's taste I suppose, so I won't spend too long on them, except to say the fruiting bodies are much like the insects here, emerging into a crowded existence when the conditions are right only to disappear and be replaced by something else a few days later. Speaking of this boom and bust occurrence of wildlife, though there were none when I arrived, there are now spittle bugs swimming in slimy globs on what seems like every second blade of grass around camp. I have to admit I was hesitant the first time I attempted photographing them, hoping to hell, I wasn't poking at something one of the locals had expelled five minutes earlier… but no, there swimming in the mucus were four or five of the strange and pretty disgusting creatures. (I know, why can't I talk about birds or something furry)
While I am again talking about the wild side of things out here, I should explain a couple of photos in the day to day life folder for February too. There is one picture of one of the ant marches here.They are are common at the moment, perhaps as the ants move to evacuate flooding tunnels. The marches are generally about an inch and a half wide with a half centimetre wall of soil worn in on either side of the tracks. Others are not so formal and cover around ten metre patches and even sprinting won't get you across without needing to shake off a collection of the biting hitchhikers.There is another picture in the folder also due some explanation, (not the one with the dog… I can't explain that, he just has a thing for crotches). The other photo that is a bit hard see is of a wasp nest that had been built in my tripod cover after leaving it out for a few days. Cracking the mud away from the canvas of my pack, I was prepared to see some wasp larvae but I flinched when a collection of florescent green spiders tumbled out of the nest. I needn't have worried as all thirty or so had been well paralysed by the wasp. It was bizarre that they were all the same type of spider which had me wondering why? Were they easier to catch? Better tasting? It beats me, but that's what is in the photo anyway with a few ants in the mix that moved in as I went to collect my camera.
So after two months what does a man do in this wild and rugged wilderness to pass the time?
Wrestle a lion? Shave with a machete?
Well me, I make honey crackles.
Oy!, I hear you snickering but take a moment and it makes perfect sense. There had been an over order of both honey and cornflakes which were about to expire and no-one touches the corn flakes as they are. Tunza, "The best fed dog in Africa" is even too fussy for them. Even if given away cornflakes aren't easy to use without sugar or milk, but honey crackles, well now, even those most adverse to western food will have a go at honey crackles. The plan was to see if the snack could be made in a coal oven and then use the excess supplies up on some of the students coming to the camp garden for a field trip. The plan however, has gone almost too well. With Laurensia now adopting the recipe and eating two or three each day for breakfast and the guys just as eager, the excess of the cornflakes may yet turn to a shortage before I leave…
Well that was a page about not much at all, there's plenty more to talk about with the school garden project so I will sit down next time the mojo is flowing and fill you in but for now.
See ya'll soon