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November 25, 2012 / samwilson60

Chutes de Ditinn – part two

We had an excellent night’s sleep, preceded by an incredible – distant – lightning display. The next morning we felt refreshed and settled, wishing we had the funds to stay on. Undeterred, we tried a different tack. No money in the world would buy these guys the kinds of tools we have access to in Europe, and we had one item in particular – a brand new bow-saw blade – that would make a real difference to the work they were planning. After some artificially long negotiations (the manager clearly wanted the blade but you never admit to such things in these parts), we agreed that this was a fair price for two tickets to the falls and another night in the field.

We sat out the midday sun getting up to date on our wildlife silhouettes and pottering with the truck, then as the light was getting nicer headed up to see the famous chutes, together with the inevitable half-dozen kids. The short walk up there was beautiful and the waterfall itself even more so. What we could see from camp was just the tip, obviously – from about halfway down the water sprayed out in all directions, creating an incredible wind, soaking everything and everyone for metres around, and finishing in a beautiful, sandy pool below. Stood beneath, we felt we were somewhere special and really hoped those developing the site would get the influx of tourists they were gearing up for – but that in their droves the visitors wouldn’t spoil the natural beauty of the area or the people inhabiting it.

The manager of the campement was beaming when we came back and kept repeating the word “magnificent” that we’d used to describe what we’d seen. As instructed by the mayor, we took lots of photos, of the waterfall of course, but also of the campement, its manager and his (and everyone else’s) children. It took a while to explain but went down very well when we left him with a USB stick full of such pictures and we hope next time we visit they will adorn the walls of his office. Sam and he had looked through them all on our computer the night before we left and both clearly appreciated the moment they had shared.

Inevitably it took a while to say our goodbyes when we finally left, but having had not a Guinea franc to our names for over 24 hours, it was high time we sorted our financials and bought a loaf of bread, if nothing else.

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