We go on a bit of a lion chase this morning, when Buddy and Laly phone Dennis to tell us they came upon a lion lying in the road during their game drive. By the time we get there, the lion has left for the park interior. Buddy, Laly, Christy and a French visitor head off in the first car, instructing us to hang behind as we try to follow her path. So hang behind we do – 30 minutes later their car comes upon her, and she trots off, this time not to be followed. We never caught a glimpse of her.
I am freezing by the time I get back, for hours afterward I feel the cold deep in my bones. I am a poor chaser of animals, I decide. But I have always known that my skills and passions lie in people management, leadership, project organization and planning. Thus did I go for the MEM/MBA. While I delight in seeing animals, as long as I know my work is doing good, I don’t mind missing them. So, we are all inspired in different ways, and I am excited to hear that in the evening they also were able to spot a white vervet monkey and some big giraffe.
Today I was lucky to catch Ravi for a long chat about the challenges I’m facing in the field, about his PM work, and how the past years have made us who we are. It’s a good conversation, the kind one has with long-time friends, and by the end I am suffused with a new sense of self. Now, with seven weeks under my belt, I see how this summer will shape me. What kind of life I want to have, how I can pick up all the pieces of my time with COLE, with DDCF fellows, with the people who have and continue to inspire me.
When we first went into COLE, we made journey boards and answered questions about ourselves. What did we value? What was the best team we’d ever worked for? What were our strengths? Motivations? Weaknesses? I would like to do this exercise again while I am out here, while I have the mind space for it. This will be my task for the next evenings, to put myself through my own training for the purpose of self-awareness and someday, I hope, improvement.
After lunch I give our Swahili survey to our newest volunteer, Moses (aka Shayo Jr.), to translate into KiMaasai. Although he is from Loibor Siret and speaks Maasai, it isn’t very good compared to some of our VGS (Village Game Scouts). So he types and reads out the Swahili, and Meliyo and Gerard sit behind him, telling him what to type. In truth, it is a delight to watch – bright minds, typing skills, language skills – all coming together to work on a project, and having fun at it, too. I sit with my back to them on the other side of the office, but I am smiling almost the whole time.
The other delightful surprise I received this morning was to find that the scarves /cowls that Andrew and I knitted for the Hadza had been turned, by some twist of cleverness, into hats! They go home today, and to the last Alagu was insisting I go with him. I try to put myself into another life: would I go with him then? Would I accept a couple decades with that good man, shooting zebra and rats, following the water across the land, gathering the roots and honey of nature to sustain us, having given up my computer, cell phone and shoes? I like to believe I have a flexible mind, but even I cannot stretch myself to that extent. I shall stay my course.