I think I may actually like this place...

Trip Start Jun 15, 2013
Trip End Jul 17, 2013

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Where I stayed
N/a'an Ku SÍ
What I did
N/a'an Ku Sê

Flag of Namibia  ,
Thursday, June 20, 2013

Woke up around 7 this morning as always. Liz was wandering around outside hollering for Emma. She then came into our room and asked Emma to watch Sheila, one of the baby baboons. (forgot to mention that we didn't have her last night but we do have her tonight) sheila was wide awake and swinging on everything. she got a few scratches in from me and sat on my lap for a bit. before she left, she managed to poop on top of our clothes cabinet.

Got ready quickly, had a peanut butter and jelly on bread for breakfast. Reported for our work assignments.

Today we were on research. Essentially we followed the researcher on the farm, Stew, and did what he requested. The first mission was to drive around and check/perform maintenance on cameras. We saw some of the various deer like animals on our journey. After grabbing the cameras and changing some batteries and replacing some, we headed back to the main volunteer area. When we arrived, we went through some of the memory cards of his camera traps and saw pictures of tons of animals including warthog, dika, jackal, and an aardvark (which stew saw in person for his very first time in over two years yesterday).

It was then muffin break. Today we had an apple (a very good, sweet, red one I might add).

Then it was back to work. We had two cameras that were not capturing pictures at night for some reason. Stew assumed it was because of the drastic changes from hot to cold every day. As a group, with stew, we head to figure out what was wrong with the cameras. We took the into the clinic where animals are taken care of as it is the darkest facility, and began experimenting. We learned that one works just fine and the other has about half of its infrared bulbs burnt out. Because the first was working fine, we knew it was because of temperature fluctuations. This meant we needed to find a solution. We decided to build a box (well, 2/3 of a box, bottom and front were to be uncovered) out of materials that would insulate and were not wooden as wood attracts termites and ants. If this wasn't a difficult enough task, at naan ku se we don't just go into town and buy a box or even buy supplies to make a box... So we headed to the scrap yard a few meters away and searched for adequate materials. We found some wood looking material (no idea what it is) and some foam pieces. We hand sawed the wood to the size we needed it, broke the styrofoam, and Stew assembled the box. The camera fits in nicely and stew was very impressed.

It was then lunch. We had a fantastic tortilla filled with a chicken mixture. So good! I got a good, HOT shower in (so hot that I had to actually add some cold to it...unheard of!).

I returned outside to find the camp completely deserted. I had no idea where everyone as I was slightly scared. I did notice the baby baby baboons were out, so I wondered if they had actually left the camp and there was an expedition to find them. Finally, I learned that everyone simply took the baby baby baboons for a walk.

We reported to learn of our next duty. Stew had told us in the morning that we were going to be doing a game count, which is what everyone fights over, so we were incredibly excited. Turns out, one of the wild dogs had a limp and they needed to check it out, so we all went to watch him get darted and looked at. First it was team work to get all of the animals fed, since the group that would normally do it was also observing the wild dog during their duties. Rudy, the husband owner, drove the range rover I rode in, and led the escapade. This is the first time I've had any contact with him. The wild dog was darted, no problem, and was out within three minutes. He was then put on the back of a truck for us all to look at. I learned today that one of the volunteers is actually a vet, so she checked his vitals, helped prepare the wake up shot, and injected him. I also learned that when put under, an African wild dog slows its heart rate down as low as 12 beats per minute... Apparently people who aren't aware of this freak out and think they are dying/dead. This particular dog had a split pad and a thorn that had caused a bit of an infection.

We came back to camp, finished the nightly duties. The shop was open today (only on Monday and Thursday from 4:30-6:00). I got more prepaid phone minutes, a candy bar, a pineapple soda, and a couple of beverages.

Then it was supper, which consisted of pasta shells, some beef mixture to go over them and coleslaw. It was quite good as well.

I then headed back to the room early again in order to "baboon proof" everything. This consists of wiring the cabinet shut, Zipping up all suitcases, and basically hiding any and everything that I don't want thrown across the room, rummaged through, eaten, and destroyed in other imaginative ways.

When done preparing for tonight's baby watch, I called Dorian and left a voicemail, and called Mom and got to talk for a bit. It was nice to hear her voice and how excited she was to hear from me.

Then Emma let Lala in, one of the farm dogs, and she crashed on the bed, where she still remains. Emma just came in with Sheila asleep under her jacket, so I should probably wrap this up so my iPad doesn't get seen as a toy by a little monkey. I will probably read a bit and then call it a night because I've been told Sheila wakes up mighty early.

Tomorrow I should be on enclosure patrol, which from what I've been told means walking around the carnivore enclosures (some of them I've not even seen yet) and making sure the electric fencing is turned on, there are no holes, and also feeding the carnivores. I am looking forward to this.

Still haven't decided on which safari I want to take yet.

Things I've learned today: if it smells like baboon poo in ones room, even if the baboon was only in for two minutes, make no mistake, it is in fact baboon poo. Also, warthogs are one of the most loveable animals I've ever seen. And a certain meerkat named Polo giggles hysterically when you tickle his tummy (hoping to get a video before I leave). American lip balm does nothing for the wear and tear Africa puts on one's lips... South African lip balm, however, does wonders.

Also, naan ku se raises livestock, not only to feed to the carnivores as I initially suspected, but to prove to the bushman farmers that wild life, livestock and humans can all live in harmony. Apparently the majority of the animals taken in here are taken in because farmers are trying to kill them as they feel that the animals are killing their livestock (often a cheetah mother will get killed and the cubs will be left to die). Naan ku se tries different technics to find out what works so they can pass on their knowledge to the farmers in order to help nature and people live in harmony. An example stew gave the other day is the following: naan ku se tried putting out guard donkeys for their livestock. It actually is highly effective because donkeys will bite and kick absolutely anything that attacks them or tries to attack them. Naan ku se was able to pass that knowledge on to the farmers.

It's a pretty amazing place. I understand how and why people fall in love with it.

Well I'm off to bed. If I wasn't tired before the snoring dog came in and Meatball the lion began his nightly roars, I definitely am now, and I know I will be at 6 am tomorrow when Sheila jumps down from the cabinet onto my bed. Let night #1 of the fun begin (we also have Sheila tomorrow night). Good night!!
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