I am now entering my seventh year living with and studying homo sapien pediactris. My work here has been very difficult, but rewarding. I find that the stress of this job has brought on a rash of grey hairs and a keen paranoia regarding foul smells. Homo sapien pediactris is a fascinating species. By and large, they are fun seeking creatures with little regard for personal hygiene.
The largest and eldest of the group is a male known as "Thom". Over the past few years Thom has grown more and more detached from me and I count myself lucky on those days when he welcomes me into his world. If I'm really lucky, he will sit with me and allow me to stroke his hair while he munches on fruits and berries. Strawberries are his favorite and I will often offer him a bowl of ripe berries to entice him to spend time with me.
"Amelie", the female, has established herself as the dominate personality in the group. She is prone to fits of rage and dramatic displays of emotions if she is displeased. The males regard her with mild curiosity but for the most part she is ignored. She often seeks out attention from the older male by any means necessary which often results in conflict. Amelie is a particularly attractive specimen and she has been very successful at acquiring food and winning favor with the local natives.
The smallest of the group we call "Henry". He has a sweet disposition and charming manner. At first, Amelie showed signs of jealousy and aggression toward this new, smaller, addition. But as the weeks have passed, her jealousy has morphed into intense curiosity. I find I must be vigilant regarding Henry's safety while Amelie is in the immediate area. Hopefully, Henry will grow strong quickly and be able to defend himself from her well intended, but sometimes violent, advances.
It must be noted that all three creatures regard me as their leader. I am expected to deliver food on a daily basis at least three times during day. As much as I love my work here in the field, I find that sometimes I need a respite. During these times, I seek out a dark quiet hiding spot, away from the heathens, to be alone with my thoughts. However, these creatures have what can only be described as a superpower which helps them locate me no matter where I might go.
Sleep alludes me here in the jungle. I am awoken by many strange noises throughout the night. Sometimes I find myself nodding off in the day which frightens me. I worry about the female destroying some of my equipment or harming the younger male while I snooze. I have doubled my caffeine intake in an attempt to stay fully alert.
I expect my partner to arrive later today with supplies from Costco. My spirits are always lifted when new supplies arrive. Funny what comfort one can find in a ice cream bar in a place like this.
I will push forward with my work here and pray that the good Lord sees fit to give me the strength to carry on.
April Meeker ~ May 10, 2010
all images a field journal