Busy as a bee…

One year ago, I was enjoying my last month at Lajuma before going to the Democratic Republic of Congo. This year, I’m also preparing for a new journey.

In a month, I’ll begin collecting data for my dissertation. Location? Gashaka-Gumti National Park in Nigeria as part of the Gashaka Primate Project. Study animal? The olive baboon (Papio anubis). I’ll be looking at gastrointestinal parasites–so lots and lots of poop. Again…

Return to the Dark Continent!

I’ll be leaving with another student–also an American! We will be flying into Abuja and taking several taxis until we reach Serti. From there, someone from the field site will pick us up by motorbike–getting to re-live my flight from Iyema in DRC and chapas in Mozambique. We will spend roughly 9ish weeks in the field with no internet access but plenty of baboons and bugs.

So. Excited.

I’ve spent the majority of my time in London sitting in front of a computer and could use some fresh air, adventure and stars. Maybe there will be some good rocks for me to hop on as well? The next month will now be spent creating my behavioural ethogram, finalizing methods, applying to grants and getting vaccines.

As well as panicking. But the good kind.

The class is now splitting up with some girls going to Madagascar, Morocco, Spain, etc etc etc. Surprisingly, the only three boys in the course (out of 24) are all staying in London. Very bittersweet as we are all fairly close–with several girls being the only reason I’m still sane.

Although somewhat dissapointed I’m not collecting data back at Lajuma, very excited to try somewhere new–fingers crossed that Nigeria stays stable enough to conduct my research. But, London is freezing and having had 3 summers in a row, I’m not used to winter. Migration onto warmer climates!

Someone said to me Nigeria will be “a playground” compared to DRC, so hopefully there’s plenty of lianes for me to swing on and trees to climb. 2011 was pretty darn great so here’s to a fantastic (if not frantic) 2012!  

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