It’s off to a slow start here. Taita Hills is such a contrast to evening-time Nairobi, my first touch in Kenya this time, that it almost hurts. After the pulse of a summer of stressing over Ms. G, a couple of weeks of very confused field work preparation, and the constant overdrive of the 38 hour trip here, I just can’t seem to wind down. It’s the weekend when I was never going to get anything substantial done. Arriving on Thursday evening, Friday went for orientation and resting, Saturday for planning, and on Sunday I’m a good Christian and am doing almost nothing (Because no-one else is). Of course I’ve spent any leisure time for being a good student and reading something useful (for those of you it might concern…). The couple of Finnish girls doing their own field work here left for a long weekend in Mombasa practically half an hour after I got here. So it’s pretty much been just hanging around over the weekend, which for some reason wasn’t what I expected.
That’s if it wasn’t for the driver and his friends, the mechanics, who have spent the last couple of days under the station’s four-by-four fixing the clutch. Luckily enough, they succeeded, which meant that there was a need for a test drive, which meant that I got an excuse (“While we’re at it…”) to test drive the station’s motorbike. Great fun! It’s a two-stroke 175cc Yamaha, it can go anywhere, it consumes next to no gasoline, and I believe we will have a bit of a love affair during my stay here. It’s also, given a tolerable weather, by far the best tool for getting around, since (I remind you) it’s very hilly, the roads are in standard rural African condition, and the rains aren’t making them better.
Me being the only “customer” at the research station (maybe I should call myself a researcher, but I’m too shy) for a moment, means that I live in outrageously good facilities. The station is divided into two residential buildings, of which one is my kingdom. It includes a living room, a kitchen, two bathrooms (of which one is for my personal use) and three bedrooms. Of the latter ones I’ve only found use for one. This will of course all change as next week progresses. This also means, that there’s a chef, a handy man, a night watch and a research assistant basically at my personal service for this blink of an eye in my life-time. I know I’m expected to mention this, and I’m proud to claim it to be true: It doesn’t feel right. Am I well brought up or is it a natural thing to be feeling?
But it’s still quiet and raining. And the folks here laugh at me because I’m Finnish and supposed to be this big Viking guy who can really take cold, but I’ll admit: We’re on a high altitude, it’s the rainy season, and I’m really freezing at moments…
So in expectancy of more excitement…