Posted: February 8, 2012

Ashley Fehringer
Penn State
SFS Wildlife Management Studies, Tanzania 

After a long and tiring three day journey of seeing nothing but airports and the insides of planes, we have finally made it to our new home in Moyo Hill Camp. At the Kilimanjaro airport we were greeted by faculty and staff of the SFS team and we began our 3 hour trek through northern Tanzania in our safari jeeps.

The ride was unbelievable; we were in an entirely different world, a world were livestock roam in open range and Maasi peoples still live their lives as they have for centuries. We also drove through the city of Arusha, which is unlike any city I have seen before. It may not have beautiful skyscrapers or open grassy parks, but the beauty of the city was in the culture of its people.

As we continued our journey towards Tanzania’s famous national parks, we saw our first group of giraffe. We all got really excited and I was reminded of why I came on this adventure to begin with and it made the long trip worthwhile.

Our camp is located in the country side of northern Tanzania and just a short distance from Lake Manyara National Park.  We are surrounded by breathtaking farm land that looks far different from the stereotypical picture of Africa.

On our first full day of the program I got to wonder around the surrounding area and I saw the farmers at work and the children at play or on their way to school. Everyone was so welcoming even though the only Swahili word I knew was jambo (hello). We ventured into the small village near our camp and experienced the village life. The way of life here is so different from the United States, but it is exciting to see the cultural differences.

We are now into our second day of classes and it is nice to be back into a steady routine. I enjoy all of my classes since I am learning about things I actually want to learn about. All the professors are very knowledgeable about the subject material and I have already learned so much. I love the participatory and hands on approach to the classes.

Today in our wildlife ecology class, we passed around different samples of dung to help us identify them in the field. This weekend we are going on our first safari field trip to Lake Manyara National Park. We will be there for two days and I cannot wait to see lions, elephants, zebra, giraffe, cheetahs, gazelle and so many other animals.  It has been less than a week and I already have so much to say, this is going to be a great semester.