Welcome to the Jungle

Posted by on January 24, 2013

(We got fun and games)

Let me share with you the last 24 hours or so of my life. At about 15:30 Wednesday afternoon Harry and I mounted horses, rode down to our HM’s house, met him and his horse, and then rode for about 1½ hours east away from Sand Creek to the edge of the jungle. We then rode another ½ hour into the jungle until we reached a camp in a small clearing.

Why were we in the jungle? We had to collect the masses of wood that had been cut down over the last few days to be used a) to construct new shelves and tables for the school and b) to build our benab.

After we arrived we slung our hammocks, washed in the river and had a quick bowl of curry, rice and farine for dinner. By the time we were ready to bed down for the night, about 30 people (mostly boys from the school) were assembled at the camp, and of course they wanted to play with my camera:

Work started before 6am this morning; we rose, washed and had a hearty breakfast to prepare us for the day (rice porridge for the children, bakes and meat for the adults!). Our job for the day was to walk about 10 minutes out of the camp, collect boards and beams of wood, carry them back to the camp, rest briefly, then carry them all of the way out of the jungle to be loaded onto carts heading back to Sand Creek. Bear in mind that from the camp to the edge of the jungle takes ½ hour on a horse… we had to walk the same route whilst carrying 20-30lbs of wood on our shoulders/backs/heads.

Once the work was done we had a lunch of more curry, more rice and more farine, shared with over 80 people who had arrived to help by this point. After lunch we rested and relaxed briefly, then rode our horses back to Sand Creek.

So now I’m sat in my apartment, typing this on the laptop I’ve borrowed for the night from HM. I’m pretty exhausted, have an aching back, aching shoulders, aching legs and a brutal case of saddle-sore. After we’ve rested for a while, Harry and I will be going to the creek to bathe (as usual), but this time I’m not really looking forward to it… anyone who has shared the same horse-riding-induced injuries will understand why!

All of the wood we hauled should arrive in Sand Creek over the next few days, and then we can start building our benab! 😀

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