It has been a difficult, tiring and frustrating few weeks. Not Senegal, but my job – working hard to complete things within the deadlines only to find colleagues have not done the same. So next week I go off for an assignment in Mali, having to use work programmes that are only half complete, as compared to the lucky colleague in Bolivia who can rely on my work programme which I finished, not just within the deadline, but a week early so as to give colleagues the opportunity to review it and suggest improvements (not that any of them bothered).
I know, I vowed not to talk about work on here, but it’s been hard to think about much else recently.
However, my spirits have been kept from falling too low by the Senegalese wildlife.
Every morning I am woken by a village indigobird – a little glossy blue-black bird with a broad white bill and coral-coloured legs. He comes to the security grill over my bedroom window and chirps at his reflection (the bedrooms have reflective glass to deter prying guards), then when he gets no response he hops onto the window-sill and pecks at the glass. Usually he comes just after 7am, then roughly every half-hour during the first part of the morning.
A couple of times recently he has been joined by a variable sunbird – a tiny, delicate little thing with a lemon-coloured belly and an iridescent blue-green head and purple bib. They can’t see me through the glass so I can put my nose right up to the window to watch them. What a pity I don’t have the right kind of camera lens to photograph something that close!
Yesterday a different kind of wildlife caught my attention – a spider. I detest spiders, but this was only a little one, with a stripy body, and it was clearly stalking a fly – a bluebottle, larger than the spider. I stopped to watch, as the spider slowly crept closer. Then when it got to about three inches away, it suddenly jumped onto the fly, and after a bit of a tussle proceeded to drag the fly away, presumably to eat later. Apparently some spiders inject a poison into their prey to paralyse them, so that they stay immobile (and fresh!) until the spider is ready to eat. A shame that such fascinating creatures should repulse me so much.
Then this afternoon, at work, I went into the kitchen to get a drink only to see three Senegal Parrots clinging to the security grill on the window. The photo to the left isn’t one of mine, but I searched the net to find one to put here so as to show how beautiful these birds are. I must have stood motionless in that kitchen for ten minutes just staring at them, hardly able to believe that they were there.
Moments like this remind me how lucky I am to be living in Africa.