Tag Archives: equatorial guinea

On the speed of life

It must be said that however much I craved a faster pace of daily life whilst in Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Lesotho, and even South Africa, London has far surpassed my expectations in the sheer speed of time. Despite a slow, frustrating beginning – as the housing search dragged on and on without success – each hour has shortened and my diary is suddenly filled with events, classes, meetings, and the incessant readings required by my course.

So although few were likely curious about my absence from the Menace these past several weeks, and even fewer truly concerned, I can announce that I am indeed alive and well. And I look forward to a return to relative normalcy on Sunday as I finally move to my own flat (no more couchsurfing!), re-start training for an upcoming 10K, and settle into life in London.

Time flies when you’re having fun, or so they say, but here it seems to fly by whether you’re paying attention or not. No fun-having required.

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Meet Lindsay MacKenzie

Hello! This is Lindsay Mackenzie /@lindsay_mackenzie, a freelance photo and radio journalist from Canada, now based in Spain. For my @smithsonianmagazine takeover this week, however, I'll take you a bit further afield. I'm drawn to places that are a little off the map – places that aren't perfect or tragic, aren't full of tourists or journalists. Let's call them the places in-between. This week, I'll be sharing some dispatches from a few of these places: Bioko Island in Equatorial Guinea, the M'zab Valley in Algeria, and the Kurdish Region of Iraq. I'd love to hear your feedback, questions or comments here on the feed. For more you can follow my personal IG at @lindsay_mackenzie or visit my website: lindsaymackenzie.com. Thanks for following along!

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This is Lindsay. She’s a Canadian-born photographer and multimedia journalist who has dug in roots now in Catalonia, Spain, but whose travel storytelling through word and image has left her footprints in many other places.

For the first week of July, Lindsay took over the Smithsonian Magazine’s Instagram feed to post some of her photos from places she’s traveled, people she’s met, and stories she’s learned. But I’ll leave the narrative and introduction to the master:

I’m drawn to places that are a little off the map – places that aren’t perfect or tragic, aren’t full of tourists or journalists. Let’s call them the places in-between. This week, I’ll be sharing some dispatches from a few of these places: Bioko Island in Equatorial Guinea, the M’zab Valley in Algeria, and the Kurdish Region of Iraq. I’d love to hear your feedback, questions or comments here on the feed. For more you can follow my personal IG at @lindsay_mackenzie or visit my website: lindsaymackenzie.com. Thanks for following along!

Lindsay and I traveled to Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea, for several weeks in 2013, and the Smithsonian Instagram now includes highlights from that trip. Check out her great work!

Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea, West Africa — A Bioko Pennent's Red Colobus sits in a tree in the Gran Caldera and Southern Highlands Scientific Reserve on the island of Bioko. Locals call it the 'brave monkey' because when threatened, instead of running away, it confronts predators with loud alarm calls (*if you turn on your sound and press play, you can hear a sample I recorded of those alarm calls attached to this image*). Unfortunately, this behavior has backfired because it makes the Red Colobus an easy target for bushmeat hunters. Today the Bioko Pennent's Red Colobus is one of the world's most endangered primates. Because of its relative inaccessibility, this Reserve is a last refuge for these and other unique primates from Bioko. But today the reserve faces a new threat – we'll find out what that is next, so stay tuned… This is Lindsay Mackenzie / @lindsay_mackenzie taking over the Smithsonian feed this week with dispatches from the places in-between. For more see www.lindsaymackenzie.com #grancaldera #bioko #equatorialguinea #westafrica #environment #primate #monkey #redcolobus #colobuscalls #picmusic

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7th the first

Now is not the time to detail my profound love for the number 7 or describe the source of my appreciation for all its mystical power. Predictably and graciously each month, however, the 7th rolls around like clockwork, for indeed it is. Understanding this to be the first 7th of the new year, it deserves some recognition and added celebration.

I have been resident in Lesotho and working with TTL for exactly one month. Today I received my Lesotho residence permit. Like most visa scenarios, this was a time-consuming affair – though not as cumbersome as my Ghana visa extensions… Today I celebrate residency!

One year ago I arrived in Equatorial Guinea from Germany to begin as a research assistant for the annual January Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program (BBPP) expedition. I met some great people, and today I celebrate the anniversary of our time together.

Perhaps it is cliché to be grateful for the chance at a new beginning and a year ahead with blank pages aplenty. Fortunately this year has so much potential to be phenomenal, thereby overriding any categorization as ‘cliché.’ Today I celebrate plans fulfilled, opportunities knocking, and dreams to be realized.

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A Sense of Home.

What a comfort it is to arrive in a foreign land and feel at home. Many places I have visited have exuded a surprising familiarity, despite an abundance of superficial differences.

Equatorial Africa could hardly be more opposite to the culture in which I was raised. In this case, home is ease of adjustment. I prefer hot, humid weather and fresh market foods and people walking about all hours of the day. Each return is a welcome visit.

In Germany the language is harsh and the diet is heavy. Yet the love of outdoor adventure and good beer tickles my fancy. My familial connection to the country likely factors in, but an ability to be anonymous abroad closes the deal.

And London is my Valhalla, an ancient and battle-scarred city filled people of many colors and dialects, a mélange of history and culture in a modern, international hub.

I suppose I suffer from a slight identity crisis, even contemplating this idea of home and projecting it onto places so far from where I grew up. It does make my frequent moves rather manageable, however.

STLcation

Ah, Saint Louis. The place I love to hate.

Leaving Ghana was bittersweet, as most goodbyes tend to be. Returning to Missouri was equally so. Fortunately, unlike my return from Equatorial Guinea earlier this year, I arrive in this Midwestern metropolis with a departure ticket purchased and confirmed. I have one month of vacation in my former hometown.

I might even enjoy my time here.