I've been in Nairobi for a few days, settling in and preparing for my travels ahead. I was in Nairobi for most of 2004, and it's great to reconnect with the staff in our headquarters here. I've been welcomed so warmly that in some ways I feel like I've come home from a long trip.
It was a nice surprise to find Jef Dupain, our Congo Heartland director, is in the office visiting. It's been a great opportunity to hear about some of the cool stuff he's working on and has lined up over the next few months. With the success of establishing Lomako Reserve, now his team is setting their sites on expanding some other protected areas to secure the habitat of bonobos and other critical forest species.
I asked him what is the most important species in the Congo. Without hesitation he said, "humans of course."
Jef and I went out for sushi, joined by a friend of his from Uganda. The Belgian, the Kiwi-American, and the Ugandan eating Japanese food together. It was great. We poured each other sake and talked about life in Kinshasa. Jef has a deep bag of stories that scare me and at the same time make me want to come visit such a wild place. He's urging me to visit the Congo in August, and I'm thinking that's an offer I can't pass up.
Today is Labour Day here in Kenya, and is the first public holiday to be marked under the grand coalition government. I think it's time I signed off and went out to have a couple cold Tuskers with some friends!
Paul began with AWF based in Nairobi for a year, before moving to Washington DC. Paul has worked at the Madrid Aquarium and at The Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands outside San Francisco. He was born in New Zealand but grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Paul received his B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Management at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. He is a member of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leadership initiative and is working on a conservation campaign to combat the illegal trade of Asian pangolins. Paul enjoys photography, travel, hikes in the woods, music, and nyama choma.