Sunday, 29 October 2017

Day 6: stop monkeying around and relax!

Today was a good day to relax, as heat exhaustion combined with dehydration caused members of our expedition to start dropping like flies. 

The first step to breaking our structured routine was a late breakfast, allowing us to snooze in an extra fifteen minutes! After, the usual group of slightly drowsy bodies slugged their way down to the mini bus we set off to the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary. 

When we arrived we were faced with some absolutely obvious, however completely overlooked news: The jungle, in which the Sanctuary was based, is also filled with other creatures and strange sorts of creepy crawlies. This was extremely distressing for many members and af through the area of Regent. 
ter observing a fairly large corpse of an unknown creature on Xavier’s head, a group of us were ready to head home! Mrs Desmarchelier however very firmly kept repeating to us “it’s too late to turn back now”, so we had to go on. 

The chimpanzees seemed to impress us all, as we all ooh-ed and ahh-ed while watching them swing from ropes and affectionately communicate with each other. It was also a huge relief that we didn’t have many unpleasant encounters with large insects, apart from the occasional oversized spider. However, the trails of aggressive ants caused quite the stir. Eli was one of the first to be swarmed over - he announced this to the group by shrieking and running away. Our guide explained to us how the sanctuary rescues orphaned chimps, often taken form their parents at a young age to 
be used as pets and then rejected. The sanctuary cares for them and rehabilitate them before releasing them into the wild when they are ready. Once our tour was over, we set off to return to the mini bus, this time trotting to avoid getting attacked.

After the visit, we crossed what seemed like half of Sierra Leone before arriving at Kitty’s (Ballanta’s principal) beach house. We were met by Sierra Leone’s delicious take on a barbecue, including chicken and fish, salads and past! and completed with pineapple and watermelon. When we’d finished, some of us took a swim off Kitty’s private beach, whilst others played cards or went for a walk. 
All in all, it was a very relaxed and appreciated afternoon after our busy week of teaching.

Annie and Patch

A very relaxing day indeed, but also a day when we were reminded of the tragedy that the recent mudslides caused as we drove through the area of Regent and spotted the huge area of mountain missing and the red earth so characteristic of Salone staring at us in the face. Very humbling indeed and sobering. A well deserved rest for us all. 

Over and out for today. JDA