As routine starts to set in, my time here seems to become more natural. At this point in my internship I have left what I would consider the touristy stage, when everything is so new and you are just trying to figure things out. Now I have started to get the hang of things. I have figured out the best times to catch the train as to avoid having to ride in a jammed pack car and still make it to work on time. My week night evenings are starting to become a bit structured as well, similar to a normal schedule back home. I have found a gym that I like, which is actually in the process of moving to a location only two blocks from my house. I go into work and begin working on things I have to do without needing to ask for work to do. I go shopping for my groceries on Sundays as is done back home. After three weeks here I would say that I have adjusted and am in the process of trying to enjoy everyday here as my time here is flying by.
Work this week was another productive/enjoyable week. I spent more time photo tagging and have continued to race through them by the thousands. We did a little maintenance around our office building. The deck was stained and some planks were replaced due to being rotted out and broken. The people I work with and many other South Africans I have encountered are very ingenuitive. I have seem some very clever ways of solving problems when doing things like fixing the deck and building other things around the reserve. I try to sit back, observe, and lend a helping hand where I can. Petro, my supervisor, two people with the city of Cape Town monitoring an evaluation department, and myself conducted bird surveys on Thursday. We did this with sound recorders, going to twenty different locations, ten in each the control and experiment site, and recorded for eight minutes at each location. Someone will then go through all the files and identify the birds from their calls and songs. They chose this style because of how dense the brush is and it would be impossible to get any accurate data from attempting point counts or other visual methods.
I had many exciting adventures over the weekend. For our Friday vactivity we went to the township of Khayelitsha were Mama Suli hosted the interns for a braai. We had some much good food, but even better than the food was interacting with the kids. They danced for and with us, we played soccer, used a soccer ball to play volleyball, and got to just talk with them. One conversation I had was with a twelve year-old boy named Matthew. We talked for quite a bit, mostly about soccer, and he could name every starting player for the french national team and many others. This event may end up being one of the best experiences I have while I am here. Check out Instagram to see photos of the braai. On Saturday a whole bunch of us went the the Old Biscuit Mill for shopping and food. Mostly the food for me. I started with “breakfast,” which was lamb curry. After a while I had a snack, which were some Greek bread filled with feta. I finished with a double scoop of delicious coffee and toffee ice cream in a waffle cone. But not to worry about all this eating because in the afternoon we went on a sunset hike up Lion’s Head. This was a pretty steep hike, using chains and ladders at some points, but ending with a spectacular view of the city and ocean. After this we grabbed dinner in out neighborhood and called it an early night. On Sunday, some of use went the the V&A Waterfront Mall to get a few things that we cannot find in our neighborhood and grabbed lunch in the food mall (yes, more delicious food). I got a Hungarian flatbread topped with mushrooms, lamb, arugula, and a sauce. While we ate we sat next to a pop-up dog adoption company. They are working very hard to save as many dogs as they can here in the Western Cape. Only 1 in 10 dogs that end up in a shelter will survive and be adopted. The WOOF Project brings the dogs to popular areas in town to help raise awareness of this issue. It will be very difficult not to adopt a pup while I am here. We finished out the week with another braai at my house, which I think is now a weekly event. We had good food, drinks, and played some games.
Well it has been another successful week in South Africa. Lets see what the next one has in store.