Waking up today in Rhoko Forest, I had an invigourated feeling about the days upcoming events. This feeling was not just inspired by the ever-soothing sounds of the rainforest at dawn, which always does a good job of adding an extra bounce to my step in the morning ( granted, after my first cup of coffee!). My feelings of excitement were multiplied by the fact that I knew we were welcoming a new addition to the CERCOPAN family at Rhoko Camp. Dallas is a Canadian civil engineer who has been building roads in the harsh conditions of Alberta, and decided to give construction in the rainforest a go! Being a Canadian myself, I’m aware just how different those two jobs might be, with their own dichotomous set of challenges posed by very different climatic conditions. But I have every confidence that Dallas is the man for the job!
Claire, Alex (the Rhoko Co-Manager) and I picked Dallas up in Calabar on Saturday evening – coming from Canada, he had been travelling since Wednesday! Arriving in Nigeria is always daunting, regardless of how much jet-lag you are suffering from, but Dallas was relaxed and excited about his new home and new adventure. On Sunday, we travelled up to Rhoko with Dallas, allowing him to get acquainted with our bush truck, and see the sights and sounds of Cross River along the way. A quick tour of camp, dinner, a nice chat, and then relatively early to bed was the agenda once we arrived.
This morning was his first proper day at camp and started out how most days do: up at 7:00 with some coffee and toast, and a chat about the day’s plans and activities over breakfast. Dallas was excited to explore the forest more and see the enclosures, particularly the mangabeys. After a quick meeting with our Assistant Operations Manager, Obio, we sent Dallas to the enclosures with Sylvain, our Research Coordinator to have a look around. As Dallas was busily exploring Rhoko’s many attractions with Sylvain, we got down to work again, preparing for the move of one of our captive mona groups housed near the mangabeys, to their new home further into the forest. At lunch we reconvened to hear about Dallas’ first impressions of his new home – all very positive!
Dallas is someone who wants to hit the ground running, which really suits our small, dedicated team. He even took it in good humour when I explained to him his first job at camp – fixing his future home! You might remember that we blogged about some storm damage a few weeks ago – one of the hardest hit structures was Dallas’ hut! We are currently housing him in our tourist facility until he can begin work on it. The roof was completely destroyed by a very large tree that fell. We are desperately trying to raise funds to buy the materials to fix his roof so he can move to his home and settle in to life in the Forest. Any donations are greatly appreciated!