A few days after we had said goodbye to Andrew Smith of Memphis Zoo, Dr Ricardo Stanoss, Director of Education and international Training of the Chicago Zoological Society was due to arrive. I set off from camp at 0600 and went via the Phuduhudu Gate, having breakfast at the gate and catching up with the ladies Dudu and Black Korhaan who man (or woman) the gate.
I had given myself all morning to send emails and the grease the CV joints of Ellie. Mphoeng and I had greased them in our mechanics workshop when we dropped off Andrew Smith, and he had advised to top them up when we got to camp as the grease would have warmed and created some space. We tried doing his but the grease gun had broken, so when I got to town I exchanged it at MotoVac and headed to the mechanics with an hour to go before Ricardo was due to arrive. This should have been plenty of time but………. when I was finishing off the last wheel the nipple of the grease gun had fallen off into the CV joint. Thankfully I noticed before driving off.
So I then had to try and fish it out with a magnet. Thankfully Charlie Ellis (friend and ex-EfA researcher) was able to meet Ricardo and they arrived whilst I was under the car coated in oil. It was not the initial image I wanted for our funders ‘hi here is the organised and professional researcher you are funding’, but hey they got an idea of the skills you need to be a field biologist.
Thankfully Ricardo, as well as a colleague is a good friend so was very cool about the situation. I was failing to get the nipple out, thankfully a professional mechanic saw my distress and took over and two hours after planned we headed off. I was hoping that this would be the only saga for his trip………