Thursday, July 13, 2006

All things bright and beautiful

Some of you have asked me about the daily routine here at Canaote. Our day begins at 5.30 when we start preparing the milkshake add for the monkeys breakfast. This is a mix, which could easily sustain a monkey throughout the day. It contains scoops of good quality baby milk, Marengada, Ne-Nerina, Vitamin ‘C’ and Vitamin ‘B’. We blend this with either fresh banana or mango. Occasionally this will be another fruit depending on availability in the arboretum. But each day the fruit is varied.
The Howling starts at five minutes to dawn and it is loud. Especially now that Totto has joined us with his rich baritone voice. The answering chorus comes back from twenty or so different sites in the forest. Don’t reckon on sleeping through it, no chance.
Breakfast is ready by seven A.M. and Louis Angel has by this time already washed down the tables in the enclosures and sprayed them with an insecticide. We vary breakfast everyday, again dependent of what we have in abundance in the garden. One day, for example it will be banana and another it will be papaya. We also use oranges and santols. The method of preparation is also varied, sometimes the banana will be straight from the tree and another we will cook it with a tiny drop of vanilla added. This daily variation is very important to the Howler and represents something inherent in the foraging techniques that the Howler follows in the wild. They do not eat at the same tree or type of tree two days running.
Shortly after breakfast is my special time when I visit all the enclosures. I enjoy this contact and I am sure they do as well. Often we play together, I get my hat stolen or I get jumped on from a great height. Sometimes I just sit and enjoy their company. I have found that they like to hear me sing and I often use the ‘all things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small’, hymn which they particularly enjoy. Sussy really likes to hear this hymn and it has become one of my favorites because it speaks about how God made the little people, all creatures, and tells how much he loves them. There is a link below so that you can join us in song if you wish. It plays the music and gives the words (in English). I would love to think that you do this and that we are singing together. I am sure that when our Lord said ‘allow the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.’ He was not only talking of human children but all his creation.
By ten o’clock we have started a serious clean up of the enclosures, removing waste and examining the structure of the houses, repairing and cleaning where needed.
By eleven, Louis Angel will return from the forest with a large supply of wild leaves. Howlers love this and eat every leaf. Again, the type of leaf is varied every day.
Around midday, a great silence falls over the forest. This is Siesta. Howlers love to sleep through the midday sun. They retire to their houses or locate their favorite branches and sleep.
At three thirty in the afternoon, we serve their tea. This nearly always comprises of different mixtures of vegetables, pumpkin, root vegetable, carrots, with a protein often this will be chicken or chicken heart and liver, tuna or something that has been specially put aside for them in the kitchen. This is their last meal of the day.

Our photograph is Luis Angel serving the evening meal

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