The sun was now dropping below the horizon and the sky turned a deep red then rich purple. I got as far as a turn in the road on top of a hill and could just see out to the east where the greener and more forested area of the Outamba National Park could be seen a few kilometres away. Gray had been spending most of his time in there and had returned with amazing stories of the beauty of this place. I’d only managed a brief visit the previous year when I had a magical trip down the Scarcies River to watch hippos. But Kofi and I had decided we needed a change. Part of our remit was to look at the geographical aspects of our partners’ work, and this was to give us the excuse to travel with Gray to another of his sites for his mapping, the Kuru Hills to the north.
I turned for home and walked at a faster pace as the darkness was now coming on fast. I dodged a couple of taxis speeding as fast as their decrepit frames could carry them to the ferry before the boatmen knocked off for the night. I met several people along the way, mostly women carrying wood back to the village for the evening meal, a couple of farmers looking weary after a day in their fields, some carrying fodder for their animals back at base. One man was very pleased to see me; he talked in good English asking me where I came from and what I was doing. The conversation was quite detailed but I got a little nervous when he asked whether I was going to church the next day. He told me where it was and he felt that we all need saving so I would be welcomed in. I thanked him but tried to make no commitments; I am not a religious man of any hue, and was looking forward to a humanistic day amongst this amazing landscape. I said I had to get back for dinner and walked faster away from him.
I had noticed that the mosquito bites had got worse each day, and I also saw, because it was difficult to bathe properly here, that some of the wounds were starting to fester. It was a nuisance; although I wore long trousers in the day time while out in the bush, it was nice to relax in shorts before the sun went down, but my open sores attracted flies. Flies during the day, and more mosquitoes at night; it was never a restful time there.