Day Six – An Evening Walk

22h28

A full day.

Best: getting to have a proper visit with Aidan

*croud vomits and leaves*

Okay okay, other than that little bit of heart gladness, I finally fell into my surgical zen today. It isn’t a speed thing, I had plenty of ~20min spays in the last few days; more of an economic poetry of motion. And a gentle, pleasant, silent hum in my brain.

Worst: finding out Nicole is getting sick and contemplating the possibility of my catching whatever seems to have infected two of the four people living in this cottage.

Vet Goals for tomorrow: don’t forget anything while packing for the out clinic!

Personal Goal: go for a morning walk

Personal Goal for Entire Trip: get back in the habit of 10 000 steps a day

Dogs: spays, neuters, one euthanasia

Steps: 10 536 (although, I did not have my phone on me while working…)

I succeeded in going for my long walk, (Personal Goal I made for today). I went in the evening after work, a beer and a shower. I admit the sun was … setting… or set, depending on your definitions of these things. Safety Elephants in the audience may take issue BUT, I am still alive, so shush.

The start of my walk!

Many paths

Many paths to choose – don’t get lost on the way back!
After I took this photo I decided I should head home

Anyhow, I want to take you through the auditory progression of an evening in this particular part of Africa. As the sun is setting the birds start their racket. It is a beautiful racket, but a racket none the less. As they tuck in for the evening the crickets come out in force. Either the crickets here are 20+lbs or there are ~1000 crickets per square foot. I have never heard cricket chirping so loud. The crickets ease off slowly, and start to blend in with some sort of animal that makes a sound like bamboo wind chimes, (I assume these critters are what the bamboo fashioned their music after), and the occasional rattle of a cowbell. Every evening follows this progression.

You’ll notice in the above photos that there are no leaves on the trees. Or rather, you may not have noticed this because you’re enjoying the tail end of Autumn and are quite used to being surrounded by bare twigs. Now that I’ve pointed it out, however, you’re starting to realize, “Wait a minute, she’s on the other side of the Equator, isn’t it Summer there?” And you’re right! It IS summer. BUUUUTT when you’re so close to the Equator, and in a desert, it turns out that the heat of summer is the major survival challenge, not the ice cold of winter.

.. ha.. ice cold.. Africa..

Right, SO, all the trees lose their leaves in preparation for Summer since the major source of water loss for a tree, or most plants, is during respiration through the stomata on their leaves. I’ve noticed a few other strategies around: one extremely thorny bush seems to keep only a small area of green for the Summer, and grows bloody long spikes to protect that precious resource from hungry browsers; and of course the cacti and succulents use heavy layers of wax and night time respiration to deal with the heat and lack of ambient humidity.

Addendum: when I reread this I realize that it sure SOUNDS like I’m saying this is what’s happening right now. No. We are about to head into the rainy season here, and so the trees have all been bare for awhile and are all slowly considering making buds and unfurling some leaves

What is myyy strategy? Well, I need to increase my daily water intake, three litres is not enough. I also only breath through my nose, wear a mask throughout my work day, (yes, it may reduce evaporative cooling through my nose, but, exactly, it reduces EVAPORATIVE cooling), and try to stay in the shade. I will likely be adding a wet rag (/buff) around my neck during these out-clinics and perhaps wetting my surgery cap. Vicki assures me it will be much hotter out there and there’s been varying degrees of heat stroke amongst most of the crew here.


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