Friday, August 10, 2012

The last time

I learned a long time ago that health is something you really can’t take for granted here. In fact, every day you wake up feeling *great* you should thank your lucky stars.

I did not wake up feeling great this morning.

Our crew has been plagued with everything from random/explosive diarrhea to rampant bouts of foot fungus this season. But with T-minus 6 days until I leave Kigoma (!!), I assumed I might be in the clear. As it turns out, a good-intentioned goodbye-dinner for Ryan and Vanessa at a fancy restaurant last night has permanently ruined anything bearing the name ‘fish pasta’ for me, forever.

Maybe fish in general.

Probably pasta too.

Our crew is now officially down to 4 members. And after Ryan and Vanessa took off for the airport this morning, Ben and I hit the lake for yet another attempt at offshore nutrient profile sampling. I got to the ‘label the sampling bottles’ step before I felt the first surge welling up in my throat. But since we’re short on days and the thought of hauling that beast of a winch even ONE more time broke my heart, I powered through despite Ben’s kind suggestion that we abandon the task at hand and motor home.

Distraction is usually a magical cure, and I duly marveled at the sulfur stench that accompanies everything below 150m and thought it was pretty awesome how the water was noticeably (~3 degrees C) cooler at 200m.

And then I started puking off the side of the boat…

and we headed home soon thereafter.

Still, mission accomplished! A 3-hour nap and a Tangawizi (delicious ginger soda) have worked wonders, and I feel loads better already.

My time here is rapidly coming to a close (as evidenced by my quickly-diminishing stockpile of malaria meds and vitamins), and we’re running out of time to get everything done. The original field schedule we wrote last spring says that as of today, I should be relaxing on a tropical beach in Zanzibar or watching for cool wildlife in the Serengeti. 

But (for reasons that are too boring to mention) I instead decided to forgo vacation and stay in Kigoma a bit longer to help Benja. He’ll be flying solo soon as he begins his studies of Tanganyika in the rainy season.

Daily afternoon view from the lake as the fisherman head to port.
Plus (if I'm being honest here...) I wasn’t quite ready to leave. It turns out that my (cold, dead, cynical) heart has developed quite a soft spot for Kigoma, and I am in love with this lake.

So this final week will involve a long series of last times for me, some that will make me cry a little on the inside (the last time I pull my face out of the water, perhaps) and others that definitely won’t (hauling the (heavy, awkward) motor from the storage shed comes to mind, off the top of my head…).
Last day of weeklies...and it POURED. This is what a downpour looks like from under the water. I wish I could have captured the sound!
But while funding isn’t guaranteed for this project next year, I know that someday I will be back regardless. And I don’t really believe in ‘last times' anyway. Not really.

So I’m taking it all in (as per always), because even a puke-y day on the lake is better than the best day in the lab. Real life will be here soon enough, so in the meantime, I’m enjoying the sunset.

1 comment:

  1. You are just amazing, my dear. I do love reading your posts. Hope you are feeling well again!