Photos courtesy of Tamar Losleben.
We're looking for an ecology and community tourism intern to help Robertsport Community Works set up eco-walks in the coastal rainforest. The job posting on Idealist is here, if you're interested...
Here are some photos of the 'bush walk' we took with Ben and company when our sisters were visiting. It's worth noting that Nate and I have been planning to do this walk for months. It took the insistent presence of both of our sisters to get us out of the water and into the forest--even though the forest is, obviously, pretty awesome. Hence, the need for an intern to help us set up the project. We're realistic in what we expect of ourselves.
You can see, in this clearing, how tall the forest canopy is. Although it was the middle of the day in dry season, characteristically one of the hotter times of the year, we stayed nice and cool in the shade.
Ben is a natural in the forest, just like he is in the water. Here, he and Samuel are collecting kola nuts that fell from the tree. Kola nuts are a natural stimulant and appetite suppressant. You crack them open, take a little bite and chew it while it permeates a bitter dryness throughout your mouth that makes me wince. After, though, a sip of water tastes like sugar dew, so it's kind of worth it.
Here, Sameul--Alfred's little brother--holds kola nuts they way they fall from the tree. Samuel and Emmanuel brought along socks to stuff with kola. I think they planned to sell what they didn't eat to the grownups back in the village.
There were some pretty cool looking trees in the rainforest. this once looked painful. Ben explained that you can chop off the pyramid spikes with a cutlass, remove the thorn and bore a hole in them to make jewelry. Below, a close-up.
Here's Emmanuel, who you may have seem in other campsite pictures because when he's not in school, he brings us fresh coconuts to drink in exchange for notebooks, pens and now a set of watercolors he requested after seeing my sister paint. Emmanuel was a perfect forest guide, stopping to let us catch up with the others, pointing out flowers, mushrooms, trees and all kinds of useful things to know--and eat. Actually, Emmanuel's knowledge of the forest is so thorough that the walk became more of a culinary tour than a nature walk, complete with tastings of 'dog' something-or-other, 'bush ground-pea', just-picked kola, and water that you could drink from the bottom of a freshly-chopped vine. We might not be able, because of sustainability issues, to include all the snacks on the locally-guided walks. When Emmanuel, who just turned 13, gets a little older, he'll be a great guide.
Here are some more shots. I look forward to welcoming our future intern and to announcing the commencement of the walks over the summer. We hope that starting community eco-tourism will increase visitors' appreciation of the rainforest and aid in larger conservation efforts.