Leaving for Africa means chaos

Leaving for Africa means chaos, at least for me. The last days before departure my to-do list is never ending and keeps expanding. Last minute I had to choose between leaving out chocolate, cloths or silica tubes for fecal sampling. A hard choice, but I left out the chocolate and kept the silica tubes.

My travel to Kinshasa was relatively cheap, but long, with a stop in Paris and a change in Addis Ababa, and very tiring. I left the airport without any problem, just sneaking through customs as everyone does. Today I walked around in the capital to get food supplies for the trip to the field site. I enjoyed my last pizza in a restaurant, changed money and printed some important papers I forgot in the chaos of leaving home. My basic knowledge of Lingala has proved useful already and I’m looking forward to expand it during the ten months to come. I noticed the city shares some resemblance to the forest. There are a lot of sounds, life is very complex and sometimes it is difficult to get around. If it’s in the forest or in the city, everywhere one can perceive danger (even if the real threat of getting bitten by a snake or being harassed by a soldier is low). However, I prefer the forest above the city jungle. The grey parrots I heard today make me want to be in the forest again as soon as possible. Tomorrow is the domestic flight. I’m looking forward to see this vast tropical forest from a different perspective. My next blog post will be send from deep in the forest, at LuiKotale.

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Lieven in congo

At the moment Lieven Devreese is staying at LuiKotale, a bonobo research site of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in the vicinity of Salonga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo. Lieven is a research assistant working on habituation of a second group of bonobos and he hopes to get to see some golden-bellied mangabeys as well. Here you can read more about his 10-month adventure.