View from the jungle floor

While I was in East Province, in the Baka area, I went on a short jungle hike with one of the missionaries and the kids. There were rumours a Baka youth would accompany us to serve as a guide, but to my disappointment, he never showed up.

“So, does the rainforest here look any different from in Bekondo?” Mike asked with a smile when we returned. As usual, I mostly observed the ground upon which I trod, but would you believe, the earth beneath my feet did have a different appearance than in Bekondo. It’s amazing how much you can observe about an ecosystem, just from looking at the path.

There’s plenty of mud on the path in rainy season in Bekondo, but this “Bakan” forest had swamps. The path was half-submerged muck in parts so I found pathside weeds or fallen leaves to step on in an attempt to avoid getting my sandals entirely soaked, though really, the underwater log at the beginning of the journey took care of that.

Just a ways beyond the path in one spot was what I like to think of as a mangrove swamp. Actually it was populated by yucca-like trees, resembling palm trees but having big nasty spikes on them. Beautiful and compelling though the groves were, we were well-warned to stay away.

Some perks of my floor-view: I saw a beautiful orchid-like flower on the path which I couldn’t find a home for in the trees overhead, and also a curious orange fruit that I believe was identified as bush mango. Lots of leaves, lots of mulch, and lots of gooey water squishing out of depressed soil. And some little berries—lots of orange ones, which stocky young Boaz collected in profusion. Conclusively different from the jungle floor in Bekondo.


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