Selfie with the President of Nigeria

Former star president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo arrived at the ranch 10 years after his first visit. It was an intense team effort to prepare the camp for his visit and it was great fun to have him over and to get to know him. Years back in Galati or Bucharest we would have never thought that us, two ordinary Romanians, would get to know the president of Nigeria, and the most famous and powerful nevertheless.

President Olusegun Obasanjo posing with the ebony that he planted here 10 years ago. Ebony is one of the most precious essences in Africa, it’s very resistant to humidity and was traditionally used for bridges in Boki region, but is now under threat of being forested into extinction.

At the chimp platform where I had build 2 new visitor benches. CJ is the star of the day, making a brilliant presentation for Obasanjo and the entourage

Obasanjo signs the guest book, while Peter Jenkis acts as the man in the shadow.

Asuko (senior drill keeper in group 1 & 6) shows Poto, who is rather unhappy to be disturbed from his usual daytime sleep

President asked us to take a photo with him, and we happily obliged. Now we are waiting for Jonathan.

The president meets permeant staff: Takam (crew boy), David (group 6 & 4) and Franca (animal food); the armed dude is from the escort. Next he meets more ranch staff: Tony (group 1 & 6), Gabriel (group 2, 3, 4), James (group 2 & 5), Rose (housekeeping), Thomas (group 5, fence maintenance)


Project for a Chimp Septic – 5 days, 4 crew boys

(1 for digging, 2 for mixing and pouring concrete, 1 to wheelbarrow materials)

Cleaning and maintenance of the two big and crowded chimp satellites was top priority. The faces, solids and liquids are difficult to collect and remove from site. Problems are: staff medical issues like frequent eye and skin infections, pools of dirty matter where mosquitoes quickly reproduce generating an unmanageable infested area and most of all, pollution of the nearby stream via a channel that carries all dirty waters. We proposed a septic pit: 95×155 cm, 1.60m deep, concrete walls, no bottom. We would lay gravel and then sand on the bottom of the septic, allowing the dirty matters to slowly be filtrated. The solids would by then be partially be consumed by insects and the surplus can be shoveled to the main garbage pit. The septic would be connected with a concrete gutter to the satellite, and would have a wooded pedestrian cover, making it easy to maintain and service. We would fit the septic wit an overflow: PVC slotted pipes that would direct only filtered liquids and meteoric water to the stream.

We eliminated the polluting drain system towards the stream, we closed the gutter in the satellite, we marked and dug the pit

We sent crew boys for sand and stones, which we then pounded to the desired granulation. We designed the concrete recipe.

We built and placed the forms. As we were using scraps, we struggled to level the faces.

Forms, reinforcing wire and overflow drain fitted. With my crew boys for the day: Mathew and Godwin. We prepared a semi-wet premix on the floor, then correct the consistency in the wheelbarrow, and poured with a metal basinet. We vibrated with an old iron.

Walls and washing platform done.

We dismantle the forms. The walls are not perfectly plane, but the concrete is impeccable

Godwin covers the drain with soil

We poured the connection gutter to the satellite.

Typical staff & visitors photo. From felt to right: Jens (from Oregon, volunteers for 1 year), a German visitor, Asuko (Senior drill keeper, from Calabar), Mageed (vet and manager), Ana, visitor & driver

From left to right: me, Nasseru (welder), Ana, Asuko, Celestine (driver), CJ, Mageed

Rose, Ana, Franca


Final group photo, the departure morning with Peter, Godwin, Emmanuel 1, Amanda, Mathew, Takam, Tony, Thomas, James, Gabriel, Robert, Emma 2