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Jacob crawled out of his field tent and went to start a low fire for the coffee and breakfast. This time on his expedition he was not alone. He rarely had company on an expedition, however the company was needed. There were four others with him. He would have preferred to be by himself, but he also needed the team that was there. Jacob did not know any of the languages of Mozambique, so he needed a translator. The translator was a young man who was in his mid-thirties. His name was John Bear. John had a chunky build with platinum-blond hair, and deep blue eyes.
John was quite by nature. That was one thing that Jacob liked about John. Jacob also liked the lab tech that was among his party. She was in the top of her class when she graduated. Her name was Lily Jonquil. Her figure looked more like an hour glass with light brown eyes. She was an easy person to be around, cause of her happy nature. She stayed at the camp site with her face in microscope studding samples brought back by the three men. She also labeled the samples according to location and type. She rose early, worked late and listened to her MP3 player with the ear piece in one ear. Jacob liked her dedication to her work, as well as the cheeriness that she added to the camp site. Somehow, she found time to add new brightly colored flowers to the research table.
The last person in the party was a mid—twenty hunter. The man was named Ralph Brown. Ralph was very muscular man with liquid green eyes and a lot of the time had a foul-mouth, and attitude. No one in the party really liked him, and they all wished for someone different. It was a relief for everyone when Ralph would go the bed for the night. The camp was located near a shallow stream. Fresh water was a must, more so for Lily.
As the sun rose the sky turned light purple, to a pale pink, to a crystal blue. Jacob liked the peacefulness of the silent morning. The fire was set well for the whole day for Lily, who was just waking up, along with John and Ralph.
Today they were going to finish mapping the area, and start marking where the flock of Olive-headed Weavers nested. Tomorrow they would hopefully tag a few so they could collect more information on them, for twelve months after the time was up there.
Lily was walking toward her little area of the research table to make sure everything was in order for the day. Small nocturnal animal sometimes moved her papers, and empty slides from where she'd put them. She didn't mind the fact that they did that, she was in their home after all.
Ralph told her a few times that he could set traps to catch the pests, but she didn't want any animal killed that wasn't causing harm. John liked her; for her love of nature and how she tried to help save it. At times there seemed to be more to John and Lily then just working together. Ralph never understood naturalists, to him these small animals were simply target practice.
"Morning, guys." Lily greeted as she approached the fire. The men looked up at the soft, gentle sound of her voice. Her voice sounded like wind chimes lightly ringing in a gentle breeze.
"Morning, Lily." Jacob and John returned.
Ralph did not reply. Lily as glad that he refrained from it, she was in a good mood, and just the sound of his voice would have ruined that. She was waiting for him to say something that would bothered her. It was just a matter of time before he to open his mouth.
"Jake, how far away from camp are you guys going to be today? asked Lily. Jacob thought about that before answering. He figured last night to get the rest of the mapping done that it would take them about three hours away from the camp.
She asked this same question every morning; part was so she could have coffee and lunch ready. The other bigger part was she could shower without the worry of one of them walking up on her. She didn't mind field work though she was shy about bathing with them there. This was her idea of field work. Jacob thought she might be less shy if Ralph was not with them. He knew she was not as shy as she was being now, they'd worked together before along with John. Jacob,John and Lily grew up together; so he knew the reason for her shyness was because of Ralph.
"About three hours out. I want to get the mapping done, and mark the flocks nesting area today." Jacob simply stated.
Lily just nodded as she poured a cup of coffee. John was the one who noticed the puzzled look to her face first. He noticed that she seemed distracted.
"Lily, I know you ask that question every morning, but why do you looked distracted about it today?" he asked watching her face carefully.
Lily looked up and found John by the gas cans checking them. She also noticed Ralph cleaning his rifle. She watched Ralph for a few minutes before answering Jacob. Something was wrong today and she knew it, she just didn't know what it was.
"I'm not sure. I have a bad feeling about something. The troubling thing is that I'm in a good mood. Please be careful today." Lily answered shaking her head, like she was shaking off the remaining thoughts of a bad dream.
Jacob looked at her then to John. They both saw she was puzzled by something. It was rare for them to see her puzzled or any other type of discomfort. They wouldn't pry though, if she wanted them to know she would talk it out. Ralph was the only one who didn't let things drop easy nor respectfully.
"Look here, Missy, there's enough people around here with stupid superstitions. No one needs you adding to them. Got it?!" Ralph barked at her. Lily looked at him directly.
"Well, Ralph, call it whatever you'd like. However, I DO have a bad feeling. Why? I dunno, but I will not ignore it. MY bad feelings usually turn out to be for a good reason. Believe me or not, I don't really don't care, Ralph. Though until I know for sure its just in my head, deal with it!" Lily snapped back.
She shock her head again in disgust, Ralph mouth dropped his open. John and Jacob looked at him puzzled. Jacob looked at his watch, then got up to clean his dishes. John nor himself liked Lily having to clean up after them. Ralph was the only one who did not share the same feeling about Lily as the others. Ralph saw her not only as a member of the team, but as a maid as well. She was just a woman to him, not a true equal-no woman was a true equal to him. So he didn't bother to pick up his mess. Lily just sighed, and went about her day. Today was different for she did not pick up after Ralph, like she normally did. She was going to make a point today and put her foot down.
Jacob went to the jeep, he checked the jeep over every morning before heading out. John checked the gas cans, food and water supplies. Ralph checked to make sure the First Aid kit was fully stocked along with other medical supplies. Jacob walked over to Lily.
"We're heading out. The radio is over by the water. Do you need anything else, before we leave?" Jacob asked trying to think of something that they might have forgotten to do, that would help her better. She looked around making sure things were OK, until they got back.
"Would one of you be so kind as to make sure there is enough wood for the fire? She asked politely.
Jacob smiled knowing that with them going off for so long that she would use the time to bath.
"No problem, Lily. Guess, I should have thought of that. Sorry, that I didn't." Jacob commented friendly.
She just smiled, lighting her whole face up like a child on Christmas morning. She turned and headed toward her tent. Jacob told the others what Lily needed done first and Jacob knew who would be the first to jump to help and who would not.
"Havin' a female in the camp makes more trouble then it's worth. Make her get it herself, she doesn't do a damn thing here. She just sits over there looking' in DAT thing." Ralph grumbled not looking at anyone or anything.
Jacob and John just rolled their eyes, but made sure that Lily's wood pile was enough. Then they went to the jeep and drove off. They didn't speak to Lily while she was in her tent. They felt it was rude to interrupt her in there and she would hear them drive off. She stepped back out, once they were out of sight. She held a cast iron pot in her hands as she went to the fire. She was going to bath before she went to her corner. After she was finished washing up, she did her morning work out. Sitting for long hours was part of the job she hated, she felt it made her soft and lazy. A light work out helped her deal with all the sitting she did. She saw some violet colored flowers that she could use for the campsite today. She never took more than a few flowers when it was time to replace the ones wilting in the vase. She also dug a hole that would be deep enough not to attract scavengers to the campsite to bury the morning leftovers and the entrails of the fish for her lunch. She decided not to work today while she was setting up for the day. Today she would just enjoy the time here and work tomorrow. She always took one day, when in the field, to enjoy the local area. She also wanted to get meat for dinner, and preserving the meat took sometime.
Blowflies was a problem when there was raw meat around. So when preserving the meat it had to be carefully looked after. That way the blowflies could not spoil the meat.
Lily set out a little ways from camp to place her traps. If she was lucky today they could have an Fennec fox and not fish. The guys returned to the campsite about eight hours later. By that time Lily already had dinner started and almost done, the coffee was ready. She had a soft plait on the ground reading a book. They looked around cautiously for a few minutes making sure things were OK. Lily was hardly ever seen reading something not work related. Jacob parked the jeep for the night, checked the gas for in the morning. Then went to his tent to grab some clean clothes, then headed up-stream. He was filthy from the walking and climbing he had done, so he went to clean up.
John refilled two of the eight gas cans and then went to wash up in his tent. He had a wash basin in his tent that he used for washing up with. John hated to go to bed dirty. Everyone knew that Ralph more and likely would not wash up. So when he went to his tent and did not return before Jacob and John, they all were shocked.
"Dinner is ready when you guys are." Lily commented. She knew Ralph's tent was close enough that if he was awake he would've heard her soft voice. Jacob placed a tray in the middle of the research table, and joined Lily at the campfire.
"I'm glad to see something other then fish, Lily. Thanks." replied Jacob, pleased to see real meat and not seafood.
"I was kind of bored with fish and fowl. So, I tried trapping something else today. I was surprised I had enough luck today to catch an Fennec Fox. Or, we would've been eating some sort of fowl." Lily chortled. John came out by the camp fire to join them and noticed the different meat too.
"I didn't know you could trap, Lily." John remarked approvingly to see how well she had done.
She noticed the unspoken compliment, "Thanks, John. I took and basic survival course, after which I took a more detailed survival course that taught trapping and other stuff. I thought that with my line of work, having to be in the middle of nowhere; it might be handy one day to know some of this stuff." Lily answered John, though she waited to hear Ralph's comment on how she was a woman that needed to 'know her place'.
"Look here, Missy! Everyone should take that there course 'cause they might need it one day. Though, you have a man here that can do the huntin' for ya. So you don't need too." Ralph barked at her.
"Yes, Ralph, you would've hunted when you got back. Though you miss more then you kill, but I am capable of doing things for myself. I won't rely on someone else to do for me when there's no need to HAVE to depend on someone else." Lily said darkly. She was not going to be his servant nor him maid, and she was not going to take his belittling remarks either.
"OH, Ralph, in case you haven't noticed yet! I DID NOT clean up after you this morning, so unless you have more dishes, you just MIGHT want to clean the ones from breakfast, so you can have dinner." Lily barked at him. Ralph looked at the dishes still uncleaned from this morning, placed by the water basin sit up for only dishes.
John and Jacob glanced in the same direction and snickered. They found the fact that she barked at him, like a parent would a misbehaving child, funny. They guessed that she was tired of the degrading remarks and the attitude that she was his personal servant. Ralph looked surprised that someone was brave enough to speak to him that way, more than it was a female. He walked over to clean his dishes out of surprise rather then out of the fact that she told him to clean them.
While they were eating some people came into the campsite. They were from a local tribe and appear to be a tiny hunting party. John greeted them, offering a seat. Jacob looked at them cautiously, knowing that some tribes of Mozambique were not friendly. He got up and took a seat near Lily. Lily made no glances in their direction for she was more in to her book.
Ralph glanced down at his rifle then at the newcomers to see if anyone in his party was to close IF he was needed. Ralph did not like most of the there and for most of it was due to the hostile nature of the tribes had.
"Jake, they are a local tribe known as the Sena. They are a peaceful people, who want to know if any of us has seen four women today. I know we didn't while we were away from camp. Did Lily?" John asked for the newcomers.
Lily shock her head, still not looking from her book. She, to the newcomers, was merely a female. John answered the tribesmen, then spoke to them for more information on the lost women and the reason behind them being lost. The tribesmen and John talked for awhile, then John started snickering.
"They are trying to find these women of their tribe before their legends or folklore does. I say legends or folklore cause you take your pick on the subject." John started to explain to the others.
Lily looked at John now despite herself, but not at the tribesmen. Ralph now moved closer to the other members in is own party, with his rifle in hand.
"John, what are you talking about?" Lily cautiously asked, remembering her bad feeling from this morning. She'd forgotten about her uneasy feelings until now. Now, these tribesmen with their calms somehow reminded her of them.
"Oh, that's right, Lil. You had a bad feeling today didn't you?" Jacob stated remembering her comments to them this morning.
Lily was correct, when she had uneasy feelings they was seldom wrong. John and Jacob had worked with Lily before, so they took her warning seriously.
"Yes, Jake, I did. Though, one of us laughed at me for it." Lily replied, glaring at Ralph darkly.
"That's cause you should never trust your feelings you stupid, woman!" Ralph hatefully barked.
Lily did not take her eyes off of John and ignored Ralph. Now, the Sena were looking at them and seemed unpleasant by Ralph's tone to Lily. To them, Lily was clearly a woman and should be respected; not spoken to with such hate. To this tribe women was more than equal, because women gave life. One of the Sena looked at John when he spoke. The tone in the tribesman voice was completely different, now, more respectful.
"He's talking to John about me." Lily softly told Jacob.
Jacob looked at Lily puzzled.
"How do you—" John interrupted Jacob's question.
"Sorry, Jake. But this Holy Man would like to give Lily a necklace, as a gift; with her permission." John stated to the two of them.
Ralph now looked at Lily with total surprise and disbelief.
"I had a FEELING the man was talking about me, Jake. Of course, John, I would not want to show disrespect to them." Lily said.
Excerpted from Seeing is Believing by Laura Geil Copyright © 2012 by Laura Geil. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted June 8, 2012