Dec. 22,Chimfunsi: 6:00 a.m. The alarm gently breaks my dream state. One hour until the chimps go into the forest. Sheila suggested we sleep in and follow them later, but we’ve come half way around the world to find this orphanage. “I can sleep when I’m dead,” Moshe used to say. I dress a little reluctantly and wake Harriet 45 minutes later. What about breakfast? “Oh” she says, “The alarm is set on Kenyan time.” I was up at 5:00 a.m.! Back into bed I climb for a short return to dreamtime.
6:45 a.m.,Zambian time, this time! Tracy and I make cheese and toast sandwiches. Add a coveted Swiss chocolate bar, hoarded until this moment.
7:05 a.m. Everyone–Sheila, David, Harriet, Tracy, Mark, Patrick and I, hoist a clinging chimp onto our hip and parade down the road into the woods. Here, all 9 chimps are set down and the adventure begins. Each day they venture into the forest for 7 hours for walks and just to scatter about, sit in the trees, relax, eat fruit and learn. Rita wants to hold my hand and tries to convince me to pick her up. But she needs the exercise. Her 30+ pounds are a lot to pack on my hip.
Chimps gallop along behind Patrick, spread out on both sides of the trail, 14 humans mixed between. They drink out of mushrooms 9 inches across, then knock them over and gallop on. Up a tree goes Coco to bring down a mouthful of orange nuts, fruit inside.
Sandy, Tara, Rita, Cora, Boo Boo, Tobas, Donna, Coco. Donna discovers a piece of burlap sack and a chase ensues. Up and down trees, over stumps, diving between close branches. “Watch out!” Tobas’ trick is to swing a branch on someone’s head.
We stop for a break after 30 minutes of walking. Some youngsters climb up a nearby ant hill and into the branches of the tree on top. Sandy hangs out with Harriet who works on his ears to help his cold. My camera comes out and I start the fun of photographing cavorting chimps.
Donna suddenly swings by and grabs our back pack which is lying against a log upon which Tracy is sitting. Tracy yells at her and makes a lunge for the pack as it is being zipped away. Tobra reacts to protect Donna by biting Tracy on the calf. Patrick leaps up and yells at him. Up the ant hill he tears. Tracy is in considerable pain. Two blue holes appear. The skin is severed over these two tooth marks, but it is not bleeding externally. Her calf is in spasm. I start TTouch, working first about six inches all around. Within 15 minutes the pain is reduced by at least half, and the wound is shrinking before our eyes. Thirty minutes later the tooth marks have disappeared and there is absolutely no discomfort!
We continue on our way through the woods.