Half of the week, I live in a tent. I sleep under a sheet on my yoga mat with towels strategically padding up any of the rain that leaks in. We keep it almost manically zipped against mosquitoes and horseflies, which we hunt out with flashlights before falling asleep to the sound of storms on the wide leaves of the almond trees.
Right beside the tent is a small pond, which during rainy season is home to the most rambunctious collective of frogs I've ever heard. Let's just say that as part of creating the Robertsport Community Campsite, we're filling in the pond.
Our car is the only place we have to lock things in, and it starts to look like a refugee supply truck by the end of the weekend, spoons hiding under board bags, mobile phones secured in the glove box, bit of charcoal and half-opened boxes of matches sequestered behind the spare tire, and half-empty water bottles that we reuse every weekend banging about. The seats become makeshift clotheslines where we dry towels, rashguards, board shorts and my bikini.
Like any good storage space, who puts what where in the car becomes territorial. "Why does he have his entire backpack open on the back seat?" I demanded to Nate last Saturday, referring to a friend who'd come along for the weekend and spread out his t-shirts to dry. I was taking up the entire front seat with my backpack, but now that his backpack was there, there was no place to sit down, because we don't yet own chairs. We're bringing chairs this weekend.
We also don't have a table, so the hood of the car becomes our food prep area, cutting board, lounge and desk space. If I swing myself up and lean my back against the windscreen, slouching so as not to damage the windshield wipers, the car becomes a reclining chair from which I can look up at the cotton tree.
Supplies for our NGO projects, which have recently included large wooden signs and a wheelbarrow, are strapped to the top of the car for the ride down. Not only is this useful, but it makes us look like we mean business to the checkpoint policemen who are getting to know us and to the people in the community we drive by on the way to the beach. We do mean business, by the way.
Towards the end of every weekend, when there's sand in the sheets, the yoga mats are damp and the biscuits have all gone soggy, campsite improvements start occurring to me. We're mapping trees to figure out where to put hammocks, where to build a thatch shelter from the rain, and where to designate a cooking area and a compost heap. I may even change my mind about the frogs.