|Hanging with Isaac|
What else? Data collection has been coming along fairly smoothly. The first half of this week was awesome – I got at least one (and in many cases two) focal observations on all the individuals in four of my six units! I also collected quite a few fecal samples – always good! The other two units in my study have been MIA for the last week. Very frustrating – we do a lot of driving around trying to find them, but they seem to be hiding! Hopefully they will be back tomorrow or early next week. Today was particularly irritating, as we couldn’t find ANY of my monkeys! I’ve got six units, each with an average of seven kids and about the same number of adults. You would think that we could find SOME of those geladas, but no – not a single group was at any of the usual places (or even the unusual places!) today! Fingers crossed that tomorrow is more successful. It’s very frustrating to not be able to get any work done at all.
Since there were no monkeys to be found, I spent a few hours reading my book down at the lookout behind our house. It was amazingly clear today, and the view was exceptional! The combination of yellow flowers, green grass, and agricultural fields made for a very beautiful patchwork of colors down below our lookout. I could hear geladas fighting but didn’t see any from where I was sitting. It was nice to get to be outside relaxing while the weather was nice! Usually we spend that time working and arriving home just in time for the cold and cloudy afternoons. I might go out on Sunday to make up for not getting any data today – it will depend on how tomorrow goes, I guess! Hopefully some of my units come back to their normal haunts.
Aside from data collection and our fun times at the lodge, not too much is going on. We are all chugging along with work and play. We are headed down to and Bahir Dar in a couple of weeks to mail our hormone samples back to America, to celebrate Halloween with ourselves, and to generally relax for a few days. It should be really nice – a chance to use the internet and call home, in addition to just getting out of the mountains for a little while! Also good to have a bit of vacation.
|Ali and me in our UC Davis WFCB (Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Bio) shirts|
Two funny stories from our assistants. This morning, we asked Esheti and Ambaye when their birthdays were. Ambaye said "January 21st". Esheti just looked confused. So we tried to be very explicit and said "on what day of the year were you born?" He thinks about it for a moment and goes "Wednesday!" then a pause... then "1982" (which is 1990 our time). Eventually he decided he was born on a Wednesday in June, possibly the 12th, but he wasn't sure. very funny! Also when we were at the lodge last night, the two of them and our scout stayed with us. They were in the dorm room next to us, which had two bunk beds. The three of them went in there and then it was verrrry quiet. We went in to see if they were okay, and Esheti said "There is a problem! Only two beds." Apparently they had never seen a bunk bed before and didn't realize that you could sleep on the top bunk too! :) very funny. In the end, Ambaye slept on the top bunk and did very well - he didn't fall off during the night, which was a serious concern!
Hope all is well back in America and wherever else you are! If you feel like sending me a letter, I'd love to hear from any of you (and send pictures of what you're up to nowadays!)! Getting mail is one of the most exciting parts about our weekly town trip. I think airmail stamps are only 78 or 98 cents - and it would make me so happy! :) My address is:
Caitlin Barale c/o Shifarew Asrat
P.O. Box 18
Simien Mountains National Park
Debark, North Gondar