When we woke up we ate some hard boiled eggs before a few students joined Nate on his tour of the sanctuary of Tacugama. I decided to stay behind and enjoy the peace that came with an empty bungalow in the middle of a rainforest. It was such a beautiful place to be with your mind, that I couldn’t bring myself to sacrifice the time I could be alone to wander through the sanctuary surrounded by people.
There are ancient trees here, covered in spots of lichen and orchids. While Lungi was hot and miserable, Tacugama is shaded and stays a pleasantly warm temperature all day, and even cool enough at night for a sweater.
The couch was a bad idea. When a thunderstorm took out the power one of the staff took it upon himself to open the front door to our bungalow, presumably to let in some of the cool air brought by the storm. However a refreshing breeze was not the only thing that made it’s way into our living room. I awoke at around 3 a.m. to a loud buzzing in my ears. I was covered in insects.
You see the towns in pictures and documentaries, and you always know you’re lacking something because it’s second hand. Driving through the outskirts of Lungi and seeing how many buildings are crumbling or were never completely built is an overwhelming sight after the clean streets of Schilde. Scraggly chickens and stray dogs run around the brush piles and cooking fires as our car speeds past. The people in torn t-shirts with their bare feet do a double take upon noticing our skin color. The air is thick with the smoke of agricultural fires burning along the side of the road.