I often think if counting down the days until I set foot back in America is good thing. It plays strange tricks on one’s psyche. Thinking of something so far away tends to get me out of the “Peace Corps Mentality”. I begin to think of the things that will be instead of what is. I should be here mentally. I need to focus on my projects that I have worked so hard for here before looking forward. I still have nine months left here and have initiated basketball projects, wildlife collections, a children’s book, a biodiversity count with the Protected Areas of Cape Verde, and of course my data collection that I will use for my M.S. degree. There is not a lack of work to be done, only a lack of motivation. I have been living in Cape Verde for a year and a half now and have only seen three islands. That’s weird right? I guess what I am trying to say is I am feeling restless here on Boa Vista. The idea of being on a rock that would fit inside of 1604 (the loop around San Antonio) sometimes makes me a little crazy, like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. I need to explore new things. That being said, next month I have a trip planned to Senegal to participate in a little thing called WAIST (West African Invitational Softball Tournament).
WAIST is a great opportunity for volunteers to blow off some steam, a place where little judgment is passed upon letting loose. Also, the days leading up to WAIST will be host to the GAD (Gender and Development) meeting as well as the All Volunteer Conference. These meetings are exciting because they give volunteers an opportunity to exchange ideas and best practices. I think I will be presenting my basketball program at the GAD meeting. I will be sharing how I have worked with and through the basketball team to get them funded for jerseys and the work that the head coach and I are currently working towards. Our ultimate goal will be to get some professionals here to help train both the coaches as well as the players, more on this as it progresses.
|Processing lizards in the "office/lab"|
My research is going well. Collecting female Cape Verde Skinks (Chioninia spinalis boavistenis) is proving very difficult. I have two theories about this; 1) the sex ratio in the population within my study area is skewed towards males. 2) The energy budget for females and males are different. In other words, females spend more time and energy with their clutch then they do foraging or other activities that would require energy outside of the burrows. I tend to believe the latter, but who knows… it’s all a big guess anyhow. I saw this picture the other day that reminds me of this dilemma. It essentially showed the more you research a topic the less you know. Questions arise that would never have been posed had you not begun researching the subject. So the more I look into the life history of this particular lizard the less I feel I know about it. I am constantly second-guessing my results and methodologies. A friend of mine, a PhD candidate at Texas A&M, assures me this is normal and not to get hung up on these things nor to make assumptions and judgments until the data is analyzed. I should stay focused on what I set out to find in the first place and not get side tracked with all the other experiments that I would like to perform. I will push through the urges to wander from the study that I have set up now and that’s easy when you have friends visiting.
I recently played tour guide to the parents of a great friend of mine, Matt Kubal. He is a PCV on Santiago and his folks spent their last few days in Cape Verde here in Boa Vista. They wanted to spend most of their time in Sal Rei and so we explored the village for three days together. I had such a good time hanging out with them; it was almost like having my own folks here, but obviously not exactly. However, the experience did get me talking with my folks again about coming to visit…. and now they have decided to take that leap of faith with me and come to Cape Verde! So I will plan their trip with great vigor and do my best to achieve ultimate travel satisfaction. It will be tough not to have a good time here. If the season cooperates, they might be able to see Loggerhead Turtle. At the very least they will get to experience a culture and country they previously did not know. That can never be taken away, we always have our experiences.