Sunday, February 15, 2009

Field Journal - Day Three


It’s felt a bit like a reverse fraternity hazing, being battered on either side by the trees as the “road” continued to get narrower and narrower.

This is really wild country! with the exception of one mile marker at 16km from Likati, there is no evidence that anyone was ever hree, let alone colonists.

The villages we pass reflect their isolation -- there are no trappings of big city life here-- no brightly colored plastic buckets or daintily flowered ceramic cooking casseroles. In lieu of commercial wares, there are smoothly carved wooden bowls, large and blackened by fire.

Though we see some goats, we also pass at least 20 hunters. They aren’t always obvious -- at first I believed them to be carrying pick-axes, but they were actually carrying rudimentary crossbows.

I searched in vain for evidence of chimp hunting, but the meat was most often hidden with bundles of things.

But the smell .... that rancid, rotting smell of freshly smoked meat -- is always the giveaway and lingered even far behind the hunters’ paths.

Thankfully today’s trip was short -- only 45km -- and the time passed quickly as I found myself absorbed in the wild beauty of this less-disturbed forest.

Having arrived in Difongo, I am eager to begin the work! I was delighted to find that Adam had already set up the tent, and we are surrounded by the sounds of monkeys and bireds.

There’s a big mine too, close to here, so perhaps tomorrow we will walk over to check it out!

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