Wednesday, July 19, 2006

a tent of our own

Day 9, Wednesday, July 19 Today’s important task involved finding a new tent, as we found out we would be evicted from our nice tent that could accommodate 4-6 students laying like a box of pencils. We had no choice but to make way for a new group of school students, who receive priority since they pay so much to come here. Scoping and evaluation busied us for the morning, though I had to wonder if Sarah’s obsession with finding the perfect tent was worth it. We interviewed those who’d be departing soon for other camps, asking what leaks each tent had, evaluating whether it was situated in a muddy area, whether there was good drainage, whether the tent was of size that the camp manager would try to cram additional people in with us, but most importantly the potential for future leaks. I never should have questioned Sarah’s attention to something as important as what would be the roof over my head in a place with daily rains. Our half day quest to find the best tent proved extremely valuable. Atfirst we scoped out a nice tent and placed some of our belongings there to “hold” it. There was already a backpack inside, but we hoped the backpack belonged to someone who was about to move on to another camp (I still didn’t understand the system to all these movements, so relied on Sarah’s judgment). But we were not allowed to have that tent, and the camp manager was a little miffed at us for trying to make these arrangements on our own. The one he gave us was subpar by Sarah’s standards. It had a pitched top with two sides that could each sleep two people comfortably. One side leaked, we were told by the previous tenants, and the other side relatively dry. We chose the dry side, thanks again to Sarah’s vigilance. A couple days later after a heavy all night rain, the two mammal researchers,Becky and Jeff, who had attempted to stay in the other side left, soggy and grumpy, and that side of the tent was not used again. Sergio and I netted the transect nearest to base camp. We caught 10 bats including a fringe-lipped bat, which was really an interesting looking bat.

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