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13/08/2013 - Curieusely Normal

By 5 years ago
Categories Mahe and Curieuse

It’s weird to think that in the months before I came out here I would read this blog whenever I felt nervous or excited about the trip. Now, here I am at the other end writing the blog, experiencing all the things I read about. As someone who is quite literally scared of everything (you name it, I will claim to be phobic about it), I always knew that that this would be a challenge for me; I even warned everyone around the table at dinner on the first night to just bear with me. However, as we move towards the halfway point I feel well and truly adjusted to my new home, and trust me there is a lot to adjust to. For example, if I strolled into the kitchen at home coated in mud from knee to toe, bruised, cut, covered in mossie bites and wearing clothes that smelt as though they might have been washed in a bucket of dead fish, I might get a reaction. Here no one would bat an eyelid – it’s simply the norm. In fact there are a lot of things that I now find normal after having being immersed in camp life with the 8 other crazy volunteers. So in order to give you a taste of life here on Curieuse, I have made a list of the things that I now consider ordinary.

In our camp it is completely normal…

– to have a soft toy who’s name changes with your emotions
– to be walking along and suddenly find your face completely entangled in a web so strong that even several swings with a machete could not break it (that’s right, it’s also normal to carry a machete)
– to spend a good portion of your Tuesday tortoise tickle stuck so far into the mud that you have to get onto all fours to pull yourself out  (or maybe that’s just me)
– to wonder what that disgusting smell is, and then realise that that smell is you
– to respond to the news that it’s your turn to shower as if someone has told you that you have won the lottery, and furthermore for it to be completely socially acceptable, and almost expected, to smell everyone’s hair/skin  when they have just washed
– to utter the words “I think it’s time for bed” at 7:30pm
– to sing ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ at night to try and get the bats to be quiet… it does work if you were wondering
– to listen to Taylor Swift when you cook, when you hike, when you do pretty much anything
– to crack open a Seybrew and get out a pack of cards at 6pm on the dot every day
– for Aly to eat a fish’s eyeball to prove his ‘manliness’
– for Aly to lose said manliness by running through the mangroves, shrieking, as he thought he was being sucked into the mud; then watching us girls and Reggie dig out his lost shoe for him.

Having said that, there are several things that I don’t think I could ever find ordinary. That includes the stunning views and scenery that we come across out in the field, the cheeky little grin a giant tortoise gives you, and the sight of tiny turtle hatchlings finishing their journey down the beach and into the water. Already in two weeks we have seen so many amazing things. This week has been exam week so we are now fully qualified to identify all the beautiful birds on the island, work correctly with the tortoises and Coco de Mer as well as doing some first aid training. Plus amongst all the snurtles, tweets, tortoise tickles, treks and mangrove work we still have time to relax. This week saw a bird themed social, a day in paradise (the name of a luxury hotel that might as well have been paradise as far as I was concerned), lots of sunbathing and volleyball and a movie night where we watched Finding Nemo and repeatedly said “I’ve seen one of those!” Despite sometimes finding myself missing a hot shower and a flushing toilet, I know I would trade them in any day to call this beautiful paradise my home.