On it, not in it

Life at Echo Parrot base camp.

The living quarters are an old cabin,  two bedrooms, a small kitchen, an office area, and fenced off ground around it to exclude donkeys and goats and keep Mango (the camp dog) in.

My single bed is comfy. It’s so hot here I sleep on it, not in it. I sleep under a mosquito net, so that I don’t have to share my bed with all the delighfully friendly insect life. I sleep with the shutters closed. The rest of the team think I’m bonkers as this means I have no breeze. But it’s noise that keeps me awake at night, not heat. Noise from branches banging on the tin roof. Noise from a nearby water well windmill. Noise from Mango chasing off donkeys or wildlife.

The kitchen currently has one miniscule fridge in use, with no freezer. With just one solar panel, that’s all it could power. One diddy fridge. One weekly shop. Four people’s food. Very hot weather, so pretty much everything needs to be refrigeratorated. It’s challenging.
We have an oven and hob that tins off a gas bottle. And we have rodents who enjoy rearranging the kitchen shelves.

Desalinated water is delivered, and stored in large blue vats. One for the humans and another at the parrot aviaries. This is obviously a costly affair. So we are frugal.

We wash up all the dishes just once per day. To save water. This means the kitchen smells real good to scavengers. Rats, mice, ants and one Yellow warbler.

The shower also runs from this imported water via a hand pump. This means the pressure is non existent. Rinsing off soap near impossible, so in my opinion uses more water. I prefer the bucket and jug method.

We even have a loo. A composting loo. The toilet seat covers a bucket. Each time you visit, you cover your business with sawdust/wood shavings. When the bucket is nearly full we empty it onto the compost. This decomposes into lovely compost. Yep. Our compost is made from our poo!

There is no Internet nor phone reception,  nor plug sockets in the bedrooms. But who cares. They are not actually essential to human or parrot happiness.

Sent from my Sony Xperia™ smartphone


About Olivia N Masi

From art college drop-out, to office space-planner, to back-packer, to air stewardess, to brolly babe, to model agent, to wildlife conservationist. How? I've always believed in jumping at every opportunity that comes my way. This has taken me along some bizarre career paths. None of which I regret. I have been to amazing places and met fascinating people. And having worked in the motor sport industry I've sadly experienced too many beloved friends take one adrenalin step too many. I think of them always. I've hung out with pop-stars, sports personalities, and millionaires. I reached a point when nothing but VIP would do. And then something happened. My pops passed away and I felt the need to reconnect with my Italian side. Whilst in Italy, I learnt to be resourceful, to recycle everything, to listen to the valley, to grow my own veg, to catch and tame feral cats, and to follow my heart. My heart led me to a desire to save this beautiful Earth, and all the wonderful life upon it. And so I read, and then I studied with the Open University. I suddenly found myself accepted on a BSc in Wildlife Conservation, having left school with pitiful qualifications. So here I am. A qualified Wildlife Conservationist. A scientist I suppose. I love nothing more than to listen to birdsong, and watch, learn and photograph wildlife. So here is to me getting the perfect job where I can contribute to saving one of Earth's beautiful species. Do I miss the glamour of the old life? The VIP lifestyle? The petrol-head adrenalin? The buzz of being a successful business owner? Only occasionally. Though it seems more like the distant dreams of a previous life.
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