Chuilexi might be my most commonly uttered word in day to day life. The challenges of working on this project are fairly gargantuan and it is simultaneously a privilege and a headache to be involved with, depending on the day in question.
Chuilexi is a Conservancy within Niassa Reserve, which my organisation established and has bank-rolled since its inception in 2011. This is a huge fundraising and logistical challenge and we are not meeting our goals and deadlines due to under-investment in certain areas and, it’s realistic to say, over-investment in others. There are challenges with governance, financial management and demonstrating impact but great successes in tackling poaching and creating a strong base to protect the area well. It all has to be married together more to sell more effectively to donors and investors, which is one of my trickiest goals, and accounts for the recent bout of sleepless nights. Luckily there is a gang of colleagues who share this responsibility.
I enjoy being here as I panic more about it all when I am distant in Maputo and less able to speak directly to the team. Being here has perks. As I headed to my tent after some post-dinner work there was an elephant crunching and lumbering in the bushes a few metres away. It was soothing listening to it as I brushed my teeth, so I fell into bed contentedly. Until I then lay awake for hours, concerned about project finances.