Mandy & I arrived at camp a few days ago. We had a flat tyre on the drive up. Not a big deal only that the car load was too heavy for being jacked up. Local people stopped to help us unloading and changing the tyre – another great experience of the Malawian spirit.
We spent the first day at camp tidying up tents and the platform, unpacking equipment, going through the menu and writing shopping lists. Friday was our shopping day. Karen, Dominique, Mandy and I left base in two cars at 06:00 for Mzuzu, the so-called capital of the North, and hit the one and only big supermarket of the region just when it opened the doors. I lost track of the number of carts we filled with food & drinks. The staff was friendly enough to open a till just for us that was soon surrounded by helpers packing everything into cardboard boxes that were finally loaded into our cars. It wasn’t before early afternoon that we left the supermarket to pick up some lunch before heading back to camp. Unloading and storing food took up another few hours so it was late in the evening when we crawled to bed.
Now, let me introduce you to the staff that is going to be involved with the expedition: Karen (CRA) is responsible for the bat & insects science, Dominique is her research assistant. Mandy (LWT) will be the same for elephants and primates with Leigh-Anne and Pili assisting (see picture). We have a wonderful research team and everyone is looking forward to meeting the team tomorrow. And there is Manuel, our cook (a very important person on the expedition ;)) and his friend & helper Felicia who arrived yesterday.
Writing this I am sitting on the shaded platform with a view to the lake. In the distance I can see a group of kudu, a bunch of hippos and a troup of baboons. It is sunny and warm with a light breeze – perfect conditions for doing some scientific field work.
And so it begins with group 1. See you tomorrow.