On my previous post, In the Midst of Hardship, I described the difficulties I have encountered in the field while on deployment for a humanitarian mission in South Sudan. Towards the end, I discussed some of my coping mechanisms. One of these is being in tune with nature. How do I do that?
Every morning, I am awakened by the sounds of my ‘little’ friends. Their presence give me a reason to get up. They actually push me to wake up every morning! Why? Watch this and LISTEN!
Who would not want to wake up with their charming tweets and chirping sounds? Their soothing and calming natural sounds help me connect to nature and the world outside. And when Im out to greet them, they always make me smile with their colorful looks. Guys, meet my very cute ‘little’ friends!
Every morning, they come and visit me at the campsite. I am not familiar with bird species but I have not seen such kind of small little birds in different colors in its natural habitat. (I only see birds like these in pet shops or inside a cage kept as pets at homes). They do look like the bee eaters but I am not sure. Although they have their local names, I prefer calling my ‘little friends’ according to their colors.
Yellows (photos above) are often my morning companions. They come in groups as early as 5:30 am. They often stay on top of the trees or shrubs and sometimes join me while I drink my coffee outside my tent.
Blues (birds below) are my companion at work. I always see them around when I am visiting the communities, usually distracting me when they start flapping their wings and create their unusual tweets. One time, I was giving a Risk Education session and I saw one on top of a branch making funny posses as if catching my attention. I couldn’t stop myself from admiring my ‘little’ friend that I had to excuse myself from my participants just so I am able to take a photo of Blue.
Blacks are my afternoon companions. I often see these little fellas when I go for walks in the village or to watch the African sunset.
And finally, Reds, my favorite traveling companion. I see them often in the bushes along the roads. They distract me from the tough rough roads that I had to endure traveling in far flung villages. Sadly though, I was not able to take loads of good photos of Reds because of road security issues, we can’t stop regularly just for picture taking.
South Sudan offers a variety of Bird life because of the presence of wetlands. It is one of the things that I love traveling in the field. However, because of insecurities, cultural considerations and the kind of work that I do, I am not able to practice photography using my DLSR camera. Good thing I brought my compact digital camera with a very good Leica lens. (There are a lot of places especially in the main towns and cities where taking photos are prohibited. I was once caught by an undercover National Security personnel while taking photo of the River Nile. I had to delete the photo in front of him while explaining that I was taking photos only to show to my family because of its biblical relevance. Since then, I am careful of taking photos particularly in the city/town proper!)
Instead, my photographic memories compensate to my lack of photographs. Indeed, watching my ‘little’ friends in their natural habitat help me take my mind off my hardships. Their relaxing sounds help me fall asleep, unwind or wake up to. They brighten my day and make my difficult situation a bit more pleasant to live with.