December 23rd was the last day of work for my field assistants until after the New Year. They’ve been working for over a year with only short breaks, so I decided to give them a nice long break for the holidays. This meant that I needed to get all of their pay organized before the end of the day. In the morning, they requested that they leave early that day. I told them that I had to go to town to get all the money from the bank, but that I would do my best to be back in time. I checked my bank account, and of course, the transfer from my University had not yet arrived (despite having submitted it a month and a half before and begging for it to be ready in time for Christmas pay). Thoroughly frustrated with U of I, I worked out with Jeff to borrow money from his account until I could replace it. Jeff has a mastercard, which means there is only one bank that accepts his ATM card. So we went to town and ran some errands. Then Jeff got in line and waited. The line was out the parking lot of the bank. And this really means there were 3x as many people that were sitting in the grass waiting to cut in line. This is a part of
We are including a picture of the bank line Jeff stood in. Note the people sitting along the ledge to the right. They are all keeping track of their imaginary spot in line. You can’t see in the picture, but there are also people in the grass to the left doing the same thing.
The next day, Christmas Eve, Jeff and I went for a walk in the village to deliver some presents. We had a cute handmade baby doll that my family had gotten for Alain. We found her at her Mom’s house and gave it to her (see pictures). Then we went to the tailor who makes all my fabulous dresses and gifts and gave her a reusable shopping bag from Target because we noticed she had one of these that she liked a lot, but was falling apart. This was a thank you for the many bags she has made for me. As we were walking, we saw lots of children carrying papyrus on their heads to cover the floors for Christmas day. Papyrus is a plant that grows in the swamp and it provides a nice cover for the floors on special occasions. It gives a soft place to sit and looks really pretty because of its bright green color.
Christmas Eve night, we had the remaining people at the field station over for dinner – Emily (chimp manager), Emily’s sister, Faith, Emily’s niece,
Here are some pictures of the night.