Now I am back from having spent approximately the last month carrying out assessments in the field, there are so many stories to tell. Where to start? With the fact that I saw my first ever real live snake – a black mamba no less? Or the fact that I wandered into the Democratic Republic of Congo, without realizing, and when I did realize I looked for a stamp for my passport and realize that stamps don’t exist on the DRC – South Sudan border? Or that once, when I was just about to use the loo, a luminous albino baby frog jumped out and I didn’t even scream? Or the fact that I assisted in the changing of four flat tyres in the past month (the feat I am most proud of.)
I think I will start with the fact that the past month in the field has resulted me overcoming my fear of various creepy crawlies. And I did see some pretty impressive creepy crawlies, on the outside of plants:
And also inside the plants
And some fungus to top it off:
But one was too unacceptably yucky, and really, I think its just evil. I was walking around a farmers field, taking the area. The field had very high plants, taller than me, so it was not easy to get through. Suddenly three bushrats ran across my path. Now I don’t like rats. At all. So anything that is a bigger than life rat is just not appropriate. When I finally got over my fright and back to my colleagues, I related the story to them (ok, maybe with a slight exaggeration that involved me troupsing through the jungle when three monsters crossed my way). My colleague’s reaction was “Why did you not catch it? It makes great meat” to which I responded “Hahaha.”
The price I paid? Lunch the next day was – yes – boiled bushrat:
I’ve grown tough, but not that tough. So whilst I tried most things that I was served, I could not put mind over matter with the bushrat. I therefore struck a deal with my colleagues: I would not eat things that we classified as pests on our assessments. Thankfully this included all of the above.