Im writing to you as a failure. The monkey song did not bring the monkeys out of the trees. We were told it was going to work. We even did the dance! Oh well. At least we got to peep some. I am freshly returned from Tiwai Island. It was amazing. I highly recommend it to allveryone. But let me start at the beginning….
December 13th marked the day I traveled to Bo. From then till the 22nd we were having IST ( In Service Training), which included sessions on writing grants and setting up libraries, debriefing about our sites, a little history here, and a little language there. Our whole group, which is now down to 45, was all there and it was nice to see everyone again after a long first term of school at our sites. Bo is second largest city in Salone and quite possibly my favorite. It was nice to spend some time there getting to know it. One night we got to enjoy a live reggae band!!! My first music experience here with actual instruments, so I was pretty excited. We stayed at the Pastoral Center in Bo which was a pretty run down, hostel-like experience…..but we had electricity at night and ceiling fans!!! Overall not bad. No problem.
From there I traveled to Tiwai Island. After a 3 hour cramped car ride we arrived at the Moa river. The river splits at a fork and joins a few other small tributaries to create a little 6 by 12 kilometer island known at Tiwai. Im not sure if it’s a national park or protected land, but it is supposedly one of the top ten biodiversity hotspots in the world.One of the last remaining places for Pygmy Hippos, among other animals. We saw barrels of monkeys including the Diana monkey, the Lesser Spot-nosed monkey, the black and white Colobus monkey, the Red Colobus monkey, and some amazing birds including the Great Blue Turaco, the Yellow and Black Casqued Hornbill, Drogons, and two other types of hornbills. It was incredible and I had a hard time leaving. The island has a really nice campsite for tourists, which includes a bunch of concrete floored gazebos with tents set up with mattresses inside. There was a cook there that pretty much handled all of the business, and yes he also handled the food. The first few meals we let him cook us African food, but for the last few meals we gave him what cans of beans we had brought and had some interesting concoctions for Christmas Eve dinner. We had an early morning arranged hike with tour-guide, a 3 hour boat tour, and many guideless wanderings in the bush. It was awesome. Giant trees, huge vines, beautiful rivers, sandy beaches, huge bamboo groves, and footpaths criss-crossing all over the island.Anyone that comes to visit WILL be taken there.