As Assistant Coordinator of AVN Senegal I am in charge of research and development on training and technical issues and co-manage deployment in the field while assisting with strategy and networking.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Where the warthogs roam

Wrapping up the Nubian Arch house before the rains

 The main vault is done. Now all that's left is to continue building the side walls up and brick in the intervening space between walls and roof until it has a level surface on top. Then it will need to be weather-proofed with mixtures of clay, sand, and cow dung.

 The cement footing around the base is the first time I've used any cement on the house: 4 bags. It will help guarantee that rainwater doesn't get anywhere near my foundation.

The last day of work as we finished up the main vault. Inside is incredibly comfortable, cool and breezy despite the heat. I've set my hammock up inside to take advantage of the space and spend my down time there with a good book.

Adventures in the South of Senegal

 Waterfall at Ingle. Some say the most beautiful in all of Senegal.

 Later in the rainy season the entire cliff transforms into a sheet of falling water, I was there a bit early

 Hiking up to the plateau above the waterfall I found a hidden jungle full of giant trees, fruits, and angry baboons

 Views from the top of the waterfall

 This precipice offered excellent views but was also the place where I narrowly avoided a horrific death. As I crossed the plain above the waterfall hoping to reach the other side and descend back down I was cut off by a troupe of 30-40 baboons which came loping across the rock-strewn grass barking viciously. They then advanced on me quickly, climbing up trees and jumping up and down barking to try and scare me off. Evidently I was in the off-limits zone of baboon territory. I retreated back the way I came, to the edge where I had taken this photo--thinking that if all else fails and I am buried in a mass of ripping limbs and tearing fangs I could roll off the edge and take my chances with the rocky water below.

It did not come to this. After giving up ground I decided to fight back. I found two sturdy bamboo sticks and began marching back towards baboon territory, beating the sticks to make noise and drive them away. It worked, and my path to the other side was clear but for their copious droppings.

 After the waterfalls I biked to the SE of Senegal to find the highest point in the country--"The Spires"--the ridge of ridge in the distance of this photo

 During my travels I happened upon several troops of baboons but none so scary as the ones that threatened me at the waterfall. At one point while biking the road I startled a group of warthogs, which instead of bolting for cover decided to run with me down the road. For a solid 50m I "rode with the hogs" down the road, sharing a sense of solidarity with the curved-tusked beasts before they veered off into the bush.

I camped out up on the rocks for a day and a night. Monkeys, marmots, and chimpanzees kept me company. Luckily I found plenty of wild figs and other fruits to diversify my diet of sardines and cookies.

1 comment:

  1. What an adventure you are having! Your house is beautiful! I'm sure it has been a great deal of work, but it is something you can be proud of.
    Jan (RPCV Afghanistan 19970-72, friend of Jim & Joey in Trinidad)