FIELD REALITIES

RAINY REASON

Weather

During the rainy season there are heavy rains and you may get wet both in the forest and communities. Some of your clothes may get wet if not fully protected in water proof nylon and may not dry up as fast as expected. Hiking in the forest during this season is harder than the dry season because the terrain is very slippery. It is also hard to always be on your feet. You could slip and fall but this will just be a little fall. When you fall, you risks getting your clothes dirty and in rare cases you could get a sprain.

Topography
The Lebialem highlands have a rugged topography with many steep hills characterized with landslides, and soil creeps.

Road network

New Picture (8)The roads during this season are very bad; it will take longer getting to the communities. In some cases you may spend nights in other forest adjacent communities before you get to the research area. The cars could get bad along the road and you may have to spend hours trying to get it fixed or assist in pushing the car. You may lose some hours or days of the project because of the poor road net work.

 

Bites
There are insects in the forest and forest adjacent communities including ants, mosquitoes, bees, and fruit flies (Drosophila Melanogaster). They have painful bites and may invade the camp sites as you camp in the forest.
The ants could be any were as you hike in the forest. They could get on you with ease and inflict painful bits. In the camp, they like areas with food. They could get in your camp if you spillfood in it. Sometimes they do not react to insect repellants.
The mosquitoes are much more in the communities and are rare in the forest. Their density is less in the rainy than in the dry season but they react to insect repellants.
The bees are in the forest all seasons but they mostly invade the camps during the day and are gone by 5pm. They won’t bite if you ignore them and don’t try to kill them. They are attracted to strong fragrance; as such they will be very attracted to your sweat socked clothes.
DRY SEASON
Weather
New Picture (9)During the Dry season the temperature is fairly high, up to 270C in the forest and communities. It is warmer in the communities than in the forest because of the trees, which give shade and also regulate the atmospheric temperature. Hiking in the forest during this season goes with less risk to slip or fall.

 

 

Topography
The Lebialem highlands have a rugged topography with many steep hills characterized with landslides, and soil creeps.

Road network
The roads during this season are more accessible than during the rainy season. You take fewer hours to get to the communities. Notwithstanding the cars could get bad along the road and you may need to spend some hours trying to get it fixed or assist in pushing the car.

Insect Bites
In the forest and forest adjacent communities, there are insects with painful bites, like the ants, mosquitoes, bees, and fruit flies (Drosophila Melanogaster). These insects could invade the camp sites while you camp in the forest.
The forest ants could be any where as you hike in the forest. They could get on you with ease and could inflict painful bites. In the camp, they like areas with food. They could get in your camp if you spill food in it. Sometimes they do not react to insect repellants.

The mosquitoes are much more in the communities and are rare in the forest. Their density is high in the dry season but they react to insect repellants.
The bees are in the forest all seasons but they mostly invade the camps during the day and are gone by 5pm. They won’t bite if you ignore them and don’t try to kill them. They are attracted to strong fragrance and as such will be very attracted to your sweat socked clothes.
The Fruit flies (Drosophila Melanogaster) are found in the forest and in the communities. They are attracted to fruits and some food stuff. You will find them in the campsite and around the kitchen in the communities. There is cocoa farming in these communities and fruit flies are attracted to harvested cocoa.

Hygiene and Sanitation
There is poor hygiene in some community houses so stick to the advice of your field coordinators. You won’t find water system toilets, or shower baths. There are only pit toilets in the communities and in the forest, you will use boreholes which you will dig yourself and cover up after usage.
In the communities you will have your bath in a stream or in the local hotel toilets using a bucket. In the forest, bathing, and all other washing and cleaning is done in the stream.
You will drink bottled water while in the communities and in the forest you will treat the stream/spring water with water purifying tablets/drops before consumption.

Lighting
There is no electricity in the communities, so do not expect to have lights. During the day you will use sun light and at night you will use bush lamps or flash lights, in the communities and in the campsite.

  • EXPEDITION GUIDELINES
  • Keep to the track
  • Where toilets are not available, choose a spot at least 20 meters from campsites, streams and tracks, dig a 15cm hole and bury your waste and toilet paper
  • Leave campsites tidy
  • Please follow the fire regulations when building a fire; be conservative in your use of fuel and ensure that the fire is completely extinguished before you leave.
  • Take your rubbish back to the communities
  • Do not cut down or damage standing trees.
  • Practice low impact camping. Camp at an existing campsite rather than a new one, and keep at least 20 meters away from water courses and the track
  • Don’t try to level or dig trenches in the ground at your campsites. Select a campsite with good natural drainage.
    Garbage should not be burnt or buried. All non degradable waste should be packed in waste bags and carried out of the forest. Burned garbage leaves, residual waste, and buried garbage is frequently dug up by animals.
  • Be careful mounting on tents under a tree. Trees can lose their limbs at any time, but particularly during high winds.
  • Do not insist mounting tents if you are not experienced in it because these tents are fragile and can easily be damaged during mounting.
  • Be very careful with the tents, please do limit the number of times you jump in or out of the tents, this will reduce the risk of damaging them.

EXPECTATIONS FROM VOLUNTEERS DURING EXPEDITION

  • Respect the leadership of the volunteer coordinator and field coordinator(s)
  • Have a flexible mind and be ready for the unexpected.
  • Feel free to ask questions at any stage of the project; communication should be your key asset.
    Respect the environmental code
  • Be ready to input your own ideas.
  • Be ready to take pictures and also be willing to be taken by other ERuDeF staff. This picture will be strictly used in achieving professional objectives.
  • It is the responsibility of every volunteer/ecotourist to carefully study the ERuDeF IVP/Ecourism Programme Guide giving to him/her on arrival. A lot of vital information about your stay is included in the project guide. Reading the project guide will keep you in phase with what is expected of you at any given time.
    Photographs are important to further the goals of the programme. We would be grateful if you share your images with the ERuDeF staff
  • Please share with us your expectations
  • Perfect collaboration between the volunteer/ecotourists and ERuDeF is what we cherish.
  • Volunteers/ecotourists interested in getting involved, could identify projects of their choice for further support
    Possible projects for support include; Education Agriculture, Community infrastructure, Processing and marketing, Water supply, Health, Hygiene and sanitation, Microfinance, Solar energy, Livelihood

WHAT TO TAKE WHEN COMING
These are some suggested stuff you may want to take along while coming to Cameroon for the programme. All may not be applicable to everybody;
Digital Camera
Lightweight, easily erected mosquito net-essential against malaria
Insect repellents
Water purifying tablets/water filter
Dental floss: as well as cleaning your teeth with it, it can double as string, a washing line, can secure a mosquito net, as be used as thread for repairing clothes
Sewing Kit
Disposable razors
Tampons
Contraceptives
Binoculars
Alarm clock
Map distance learning
Torch (flashlight) and spare bulbs and batteries to be used in the jungle, communities and even in the urban areas during electricity cuts
Small towel to be used in the communities/jungle or in town for cheaper hotels that have none
Earplugs for noisy hotels
Calculators for working out exchange rates
Compass
Waterproof bag(s) to protect your luggage especially during the rainy season
Plastic bags
Plastic rain poncho/lightweight windproof waterproof jacket, which can double as a ground mat and is easier tham carrying an umbrella
Hat
Penknife or Swiss Army Knife

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