With turtle season coming to a close, it seems strange to look back on all of the relationships made in such a chaotic time. There are night patrols, English classes needing to be taught by yours truly and two other PCVs, sleepless mornings, and the ever impending foot injury. It is not a matter of if you will receive a debilitating foot injury, but when and how severe.
The foot injury was a thing that never concerned me in America. I never thought, I should be careful here not to injury my feet. I think this true for two reasons:
- 1) Last year I wore closed toed shoes a total of 5 days in Cape Verde. This was just not the case in America. I almost despised flip-flops before Cabo Verde. These days I wear them for everything…. That is as classy as I am willing to get here. When in Rome.
- 2) The chances of even the seemingly insignificant injuries turning infected are much greater here. I think this has to do with a general sanitation issue throughout Cabo Verde.
Thus, cuts on feet become much more serious to me than ever before. I had bad luck with feet injuries this past turtle season and even had an unfortunate spill during a serious game of sand soccer (I still have some serious scar tissue from that incident). But, we continue on...life moves in the same speed that it did before. One must keep on no matter, and had I not, I would have missed out on some really fun people.
There was a German girl who was really cool, demanding and all-knowing, but very fun. The English guy who just so happened to be a fellow herpetologist. I will never forget the night that my roommate and the English guy's girlfriend realized that there was more than one herpetology-obsessed person that they now knew. As we discussed new taxonomy and general evolution of squamates over many a’ brew, the blank stares that we received from our company were ignored. The Italian who could not handle the turtle patrols. A German whom I am almost positive should have been born American and many others that have left lasting impacts. The relationships formed over the course of three to four months, during such a hectically tranquil time tend to be remembered in only the best way. But of course real work was accomplished during a wonderful time on the beach working with both Natura2000 and Turtle Foundation.
|A picture at turtle camp with a visiting PCV from Santo Antao|
Hands-on work with these organizations affords me valuable experience as well a close working relationship with both organizations vital to my work as an ecologist for the Protected Areas of Cape Verde. Our Protected Areas team on the island of Boa Vista is nearly complete, and I will have a website for you all to visit soon. Since I have been tasked with building the website, I can probably tell you the day that the site goes live. I am also still collecting data on Chioninia spinalis boavistensis, also known as a lizard. With my current study I am be looking at reproductive cycle, diet, and habitat selection. All of this will give some insight into the life history of this particular organism, which I think is way cool. Another neat aspect is just adding to the general knowledge of the environment. We know so little, and to gain knowledge, no matter how insignificant, about one of the creatures within the phylogeny of life is an incredible thing. I know that many people think, “It’s only one lizard” or “why is it important to save one species”, but this is the wrong way to think about this issue. If this is your thought process, then my question is when do we stop saying ‘it’s only one’? Where do we draw the line on massive extinctions that we are currently seeing? We are not the pinnacle of evolution. We have merely evolved to a different state than other organisms. We are clumsy and maladapted to many of our current habitats. We need to remember that this earth cannot sustain us at the current rate of usage and extinctions that we are seeing today. Now I will come off of my soapbox and tell you a little success story about the basketball project that many of you in America are familiar with and have even pledged support.
|Coach G counting the equipment|
I was sending out emails to every organization and NGO that I could think of looking for support for the women’s basketball team on Boa Vista. Then within a matter of days I found support from an unlikely source, the United States Embassy of Cape Verde. They were speedy and more helpful than I had imagined could be possible with a government entity. They were able to donate $1,700.00 USD to our cause!!! We were able to get special order jerseys, tops and bottoms, from Portugal, legitimate women’s basketballs, and cones. I gave a short speech at one of the practices where we unveiled the jerseys. All was right in the world that night. Now I am trying to find speakers and money for a Women’s Rights Day. This is proving to be more difficult than I had originally planned, but this is one of my top priorities to be finished before I leave Cape Verde. Which, for those of you counting… is not very far off these days.