Camp Visitors and Nyama Choma (Roasted Meat)


Sarah Jacobson International Intern

Date Published

The past week has been great with many people visiting camp. Iain came for a weekend and it was nice to spend time talking to him. We had a nice meal with him, Oria, and Gemma. For the past two days we had journalist Jeffrey Gettleman and photographer Tyler Hicks from the New York Times here to investigate the poaching problem. They spent most of their time here going out on patrols with the Nasuulu community scouts who work to patrol against poachers. They also interviewed an ex-poacher. The piece Jeff is writing will include information about poaching and the efforts to combat it in Central Africa as well. The reporters had interesting stories to share from their many adventures working for the Times. The night before they left Jeff bought a goat to roast as thanks to the scouts and all of us were invited to the scouts’ camp across the river. We journeyed across the river on a washed out bridge which ends in a metal ladder down to the other side. Then we piled into the back of a truck and enjoyed the stars as we drove to the scout’s camp. We brought chapatti and vegetables while the scouts roasted the goat and cooked ugali. It was a delicious meal around campfires! The best goat I’ve had in Africa so far!

Over the past week I have continued to go out on drives to identify the elephants and I think I’m beginning to recognize a few families. Shifra has started to do focal observations on some elephants which I have attempted to help out with. The observation involves focusing on one elephant and recording all of their interactions with other elephants for the 30 minutes they are being observed. You really have to know all the elephants in the group to be able to do it right. It’s been very interesting to observe their different interactions, from friendly body rubs to agonistic pushes.

I also have enjoyed meeting all of the animals that hang out with us in camp. The first I met were the kudu that were grazing outside of my tent one morning. Then more recently I fed “Klippy” the klipspringer that will often show up outside the office, looking for acacia pods. There are also hornbills that join us for breakfast and a genet that joins us for dinner. We give them little bits of food and enjoy their company. One morning I was awakened by a loud noise outside my tent. When I opened the window to check it out I saw a big bull elephant walking past. His name is Yeager and he stayed around camp for a couple nights before moving on.