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Education Opinion

The Secrets of Monkey Following

By Barbara Purn — July 11, 2006 1 min read

I’m getting more used to looking for monkeys, walking softly on the crunching wood so as to not startle them, to be able to sense when they might be near and to see them in the trees as they move across the forest. The area that the three of us are in is much more challenging, because the monkeys are less used to people and easily flee, and the forest is very dense. We rarely use trails when following a monkey—just barge ahead into the bushes, get scratches on your arms and face from the thorns, watching for wasp nests and huge spiders. I try not to really think about what might be around me! Haven’t seen any snakes yet, however, which is conforting.

We had another treat today—we were given a few hours in the morning to go to Malindi for bank, shopping, lunch and to see a great wood carving Cooperative. About 500 men sit under a thatched roof workshop carving out figurines etc. from wood that is brought to them as logs. They use hand tools, carving the shapes from memory, with skills passed from father to son. In the huge shop you saw the fruits of their handicraft as beautifully shaped, sanded, and painted bowls, figures, animals, masks, etc. They used very fine wood such as ebony and teak for many of the pieces. The products were more expensive than what you can find in the local kiosks, but of better quality. And the money goes directly back to the makers of the craft rather than through middlemen.

Back to Gede Ruins from 2-6pm for more monkey following. I had a little different job for two hours and that was to record all the trees in a plot of land, 10x10 meters. Four of us measured diameter of trees, identified them, and determined the circumference of the canopy. We did two different plots of land. It was fun to do something different.

I’m very excited because tomorrow we have a day off and four of us are going on a Safari to Tsavo Park! We’ll have our same driver and van take us, and we’ll stay in cabin tents right out with the animals. The tour is more expensive than I was anticipating but I simply can’t pass us the opportunity to do this when I’m here in Kenya. I can’t wait!

The opinions expressed in My Summer in Kenya are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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