We’re lucky to have another sunny day, and I sit on the patio for a couple hours, half-shaded by the giraffe acacia next to me and half just enjoying the warmth. I ask Buddy and Laly a lot of questions at lunch, and dinner, and during our meeting about the survey.. I feel that I am often at the edge of understanding how people here approach situations, how they think. Experience tells me that the emotion is a sham, and that I really still know nothing. It’s good to accept it because then there is no pressure to be an expert. I can just absorb and ponder.
There is nothing unexpected about the day; the only thing that startles me is the arrival of Laly’s tame hornbills at her office. The female, Feathers, “lands” on the windowsill with a loud THUNK before sliding down to perch against the glass. It sounds like bird death, but every time I glanced up, startled, Feathers was eagerly peering in at us.
Other challenges yesterday involved setting up a new computer and internet access restrictions, figuring out what to do with reports of a sick elephant (staggering, falling to its knees, looking generally in pain) and trying to figure out how to stop the office toilet from running continuously and wasting precious water. Laly tell us that people are now poisoning elephants. Apparently this is the newest method for poachers to kill an elephant and avoid being tracked – they inject the poison into a watermelon, the elephant eats it and staggers into the bush to die, and then the poachers follow it and take the tusks from the carcass. The poachers sometimes don’t use enough poison, in which case the elephant gets sick for a few days before recovering and walking on. Still, it distresses us to know there might be poisonings occurring in this area. There is so much to be done here; where does one start?