LOCKED DOWN AND LOCKED IN BY THE ELEPHANTS IN KIBALE FOREST
(Posted 09th July 2020)
In her last episode of this series did Charlotte Beauvoisin, aka Nagawa, talk about where the elephants were at that time.
This week she is no longer wondering where they are as the elephants came to pay her a visit, close up and personal, at her new patch at the edge of Kibale Forest.
In the third of a series, Charlotte Beauvoisin shares some of her #LockdownDiaries from Kibale Forest in Western Uganda.
Despite the fact that elephants have ruined my recently revived running career (I had proudly reached the one-mile mark) I’m rather excited that they are back.
It is 8.30 p.m. and I settle down for the night with a book.
We are deep in the village. The closest trading centre is 3 km away. Nights are the preserve of cicadas, frogs, black and white Colobus monkeys and the black-shouldered Nightjar.
But tonight, I hear men shouting. The voices are loud.
Last night we heard someone banging a jerry can but dismissed him as a lone drunkard. Tonight there are more voices and they rise in a crescendo of excitement. They seem to be approaching us. Innocent reports that they are burning charcoal but that doesn’t explain the noise. It’s night time. Lockdown curfew started at 7 p.m. Why are people out in the fields at this hour?
We hear the shouts of young women, screams and laughter. There is movement.
"The elephants are here!" Shouts Julia.
In lockdown for over two months, I sense the excited freedom of young neighbours who are released from the confines of home to chase elephants away from their gardens. The animal invaders give people an excuse to congregate (and don’t we all have a yearning to do that)?
Life here on the edge of Kibale National Park is beautiful in countless ways every day. However, the reality for our subsistence farmer neighbours is tough. One night of shouting in the fields might be fun but the coming weeks will disturb all of us. In two weeks, our neighbours’ three metre high maize plants will be ready to harvest. Expect lots of hungry animals to exit the park to claim their share!
With zero tourism (our area is reliant on it) there is additional pressure to grow crops. The daily battle between man and beast will have far-reaching consequences this year. It’s very humbling to hear it all unfold around me.
But what of the muzungu’s running career? Will the elephants allow me to return to the forest?
Time will no doubt tell and the next episode will shed more light on Charlotte’s life at the edge of Kibale Forest.
If you enjoyed this story, look out for the next one in this series, exclusively here on ATCNews, written by Charlotte Beauvoisin.
Charlotte is best known for her blog Diary of a Muzungu. She is a travel writer, influencer, marketing manager and trainer. She lives at Sunbird Hill on the edge of Kibale National Park.