In the desert: Building Week

Damaraland Travel Blog

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Scenery on the drive into base camp
On Sept. 10th, after having breakfast at Villa Weise and stopping at the market for snacks, we packed ourselves into the truck and headed out to base camp (3 1/2 hour drive into the desert). Base camp is lovely! Reminds me of the Swiss Family Robinson.....there is a platform in a tree you can sleep on, three A-frames, a kitchen, a toilet and even showers! Base camp is surrounded by mountains called "kopji's". They are very rocky! We are also surrounded by baboons which make tons of noise at night. What an odd sound if you're not prepared to hear them scream! Very primal.

Later that evening my duffel arrived! (Only 2 days late) After dinner (a lovely pasta dish prepared on the camp fire), I had clean up duty with Mirka, a lovely young woman from Berlin.
Platform in the tree at base camp
We get on well and it was fun to be on duty with her. Tomorrow we have breakfast, lunch and dinner duty as well.

Sept. 11:
It was a bit difficult to sleep with all of the baboon noises, but how cool to not sleep for that reason! Mirka and I prepared coffee/tea and oatmeal for our group, cleaned up, then headed out in an open vehicle to our building site for the week. After unpacking and setting up our site, Mirka and I prepared lunch (bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, salami or PB&J). We then cleaned up and had a 2 hour siesta. Afterwards, we headed to the building site (a water tank on a small rural farm) and begain building the wall. This was done by collecting large river rocks, and peicing them together with a cement/sand mixture. After a bit of work, it was time to head back to our camp site and prepare dinner.
Me in front of a kopji across from base camp

The stars here are incredible! You can see the milky way and the southern cross so clearly! They are just so bright and crisp! When you look up at them, you can see bats flying in the sky. So far, we have seen jackals, sprinkgbok, ostrich and an assortment of other animals...

Sept/ 12:
Today we got up, had breakfast and headed over to our building site to work on the wall. These walls are built to protect the rural farmer's water sources (windmills that pump the water, water tanks and water pumps) from elephants. Elephants, while seeking water, can destroy these precious sites, and it is costly for farmer's to replace and rebuild. These walls allow elephants access without destroying them....this keeps both farmers and elephants happy! To make the walls, we fit the large river rocks together to form a level layer of the wall.
Heading out to building site
You have to be a bit careful when picking up rocks, as there are plenty of scorpions hiding out... Piecing the wall together is quite like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. I have been working on a section of the wall with Mirka, whom I really like. Our group is indeed diverse. We have Dan, the youngest (22) from Wales, Missy from Boston, Louise and Coleen from the UK, Birgit and Wim from Brussels, Michael from Tourin, Lizbit and Leon from Rotterdam, and Mirka from Berlin.... Edwin is our supervisor for building week, and Gerson assists. Our site is located on a small farm---loads of goats, cows, etc.
wheretonextgirl says:
That sounds so amazing! way to go, girl! and yes, baboons are an awesome reason not to be able to sleep haha
Posted on: Sep 30, 2007
AndiPerullo says:
It's so great what you did! It must have been an incredible feeling to sleep in the African bush?! Awesome writing!
Posted on: Sep 29, 2007
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Scenery on the drive into base camp
Scenery on the drive into base camp
Platform in the tree at base camp
Platform in the tree at base camp
Me in front of a kopji across from…
Me in front of a kopji across fro…
Heading out to building site
Heading out to building site
Our camp site for building week
Our camp site for building week
Me and Mirka
Me and Mirka
Damaraland
photo by: Jennyc2007