Photo courtesy of Jana Videira.
For the last five months, Nate and I have driven to Robertsport every weekend, set up our campsite, hired local security, brought out hammocks and kerosene lanterns, made sure the toilet thatch was defending modesty, and readied Robertsport Community Campsite for potential guests. We stayed there the whole weekend, so it was also an investment in our own comfort, but gradually the packing and unpacking of extra tents and the scent of kerosene in the trunk made us start thinking. We definitely needed someone to run the campsite.
Over the same five months, we've seen local surfer (and world famous!) Alfred Lomax smile and snap to attention whenever he's heard of a new guest visiting Robertsport. We've seen him introduce himself politely, ask tons of questions, invite strangers to stay at his house, organize his mother or his fiancee to cook for them, give them surf lessons, entrust them with his surf boards, and generally encourage visitors to feel welcome, safe and appreciated. Clearly, it was an obvious choice.
Last weekend we sat down with Alfred in a grove of hammocks and offered him the job. He was thrilled, especially since we hired his best friend and fellow surfer Benjamin McCrumuda, to be the groundskeeper. Ben has been making 'African benches' for a few weeks now -- uncomfortable looking wooden benches made from tree trunks and bamboo poles that are actually quite nice to sit on, in a therapeutic sort of way -- so we were really just formalizing his position. Plus, it's good to support them two of them: they do everything together and are respected young members of the community.
We've trained Alfred on how to make receipts and now he's officially in charge. We had a Peace Corps guest last week and a couple of friends stay over the weekend. Things are going well.