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  • Writer's pictureHummingbird Retreat

Week 22

Wildlife wonder- Whistling frog

At night there is a loud chorus of what I thought were crickets, but I have recently found out that it is also the sound of whistling frogs. They have a 2- note whistle which they can repeat up to a whistle per second. There are large numbers of these frogs in the undergrowth but I have never been able to spot any of them because they are so tiny.

They are some of the smallest frogs in the world, measuring only about 2 cm long but they make a significant noise, especially after heavy rain. Their Latin name means ‘free-toed’ because they do not have webbed feet, as many other frogs do. These frogs are also unusual because they do not have a tadpole stage and the small frogs hatch directly from the eggs.

Grenadian gift – Grand Etang Forest reserve

Grand Etang is one of Grenada’s main tourist attractions and can be found inland, near the centre of the island. The name means ‘large lake’ in French, which is an appropriate name for an expanse of water that stretches over 36 acres. It is surrounded by rainforest which is home to the Mona monkey and other wildlife and there are various hiking trails for the more adventurous. It is always cooler up in the rainforest and the lake is a peaceful spot for a picnic.

The lake is home to freshwater lobsters, crayfish, snapper, barracuda and bonefish to name just some of the species there. A common resident are the carp who enjoy being fed from the wooden platform. We have seen them being fed a few times and they can get quite competitive, thrashing around in the water to compete for the food. Fishing is not allowed at the lake and so there are plenty of fish and some of them grow to an impressive size.

There are various myths about the lake such as the story about the mermaid who lives at the bottom of the lake. There are also tales of people who have drowned in the lake and then reappeared on other islands or even in South America. That’s one way of saving on airfares!

Reflections from the Retreat

It’s interesting to discover what I miss since moving here and realising certain things which I took for granted in the UK. As in many parts of the world, the heat has increased here and it is particularly difficult to adjust to at night when the temperatures still remain around 30C and so I miss the cool Summer evenings and cooler nights of the UK.

One of the other things I found really hard to adjust to, when I moved here, was that there were no recycling processes. Having lived with automatically separating out waste for recycling, it was very painful to throw away recyclable waste in the general rubbish, knowing it was heading to a large landfill near the capital.

A few months ago I was pleased to see Coca cola sponsoring an event to recycle bottles. However, it was mainly aimed at children, in which they set up various collection points for plastic bottles and it was just a one-day event and it didn’t seem to attract much attention.

So I was really excited when I drove through our local town recently and saw these recycling bins (in the photo above). According to the labels it looks like Norway has given these bins. I think it may take a while for a culture of recycling to become the norm here in Grenada. However, perhaps an excited British woman taking photos of the bins before I fed them my recycling, might help a little!

Another thing that I knew would be a challenge is the time it takes for things to happen, particularly business processes. However, I am beginning to understand why things take so long. With each process, there seems to be a lot of collecting of pieces of paper that are needed, copies made and filed away, and forms to be filled out. We are told what to bring to an appointment or what to complete in a form and then only to find out at the next appointment that more is needed that we hadn’t been told about.

A good example of this was setting up a bank account for Hummingbird HOPE. It was more challenging with 2 of the directors being in the UK and so we needed to get their papers notarised by a lawyer in the UK and sent over by special delivery. Our final appointment at the bank took over 4 hours and even then another letter was requested by the end of the following day that had to be signed by all four directors. This was a challenge when two of them are in UK and the third was taking a funeral!

We needed this charity account opened as soon as possible to be able to transfer donations sitting in a UK charity account for us that we need. I had hoped to have had this money months ago and so work on the house has had to slow down a little while we wait for these funds to be transferred. However, I am grateful for various sources of finance to help with our cash flow including some regular supporters in the UK, my Mum who has been a great support when money has got very tight, and also two unexpected UK tax refunds which were very timely and a welcome surprise!

Finally, something I didn’t expect to miss as much as I have done is marmalade! So as well as recycling bins, I was excited to see that this has now appeared in the local town. Perhaps it is only a seasonal product and coincides with more UK visitors coming over for the Summer holidays. I have recently got to know my neighbour who has numerous Seville orange trees and has plenty of oranges to spare in exchange for a jar of marmalade. So I hope to experiment with making marmalade from our local oranges when they are back in season, but for now, I am enjoying the supermarket marmalade, while stocks last!

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