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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

from Claudine's diary...Elonda

On our way back to Basankusu, we stopped of in Elonda, a little village, camp to some fishermen, along the Lopori, just opposite our release site. I really like this place where the people are so hospitable! The chief of the camp helped us to pick-out a nice spot to set-up our camp. “That’s decided then!” exclaimed Pierrot, on the following thursday we would go and meet the higher chief in Kodoro to come to an agreement so we can settle our camp in Elonda.

We got back at nightfall, happy to get rid of our boots, soaked with water. That night, I started to dream of the wild bonobos that apparently still live on the other side of the Molambi River, to the north of our new “reserve”.

“Tell me, Pierrot, what if we planned a habituation project for the wild bonobos, with the Pôo from the village of Boso-Ngubu?” He looked at me wide-eyed, like a chess player who hadn’t seen a move coming! But I continued to explain my wild idea and willingly he hopped into my little dream! “How lucky you are!” said Titi Ô : “Neither Dominique, nor Valery are here to pull you out of the clouds!”… Without wasting any time, I decided to go to the village to meet the people to see if this new dream, which to me was becoming a new plan, would be in any way feasible… As my friend Priscilla Talmon would say, “Just like Alexandra David-Néel ( French explorer, first western woman to enter forbidden Tibet and reach Lhassa, the capital, in 1924.) you too, will ask to have you passport renewed at the age of 101!” Moving on… or “OKA” as would say Titi Ô, (‘onwards’ in the Gabonese language!)