Name: Elyse Hartnett
School: University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Program: Wildlife Management Studies, Tanzania
The Serengeti called and we answered. The heart of Africa is palpitating and in the 7-hour trip, the pounding rawness of Africa beats louder and louder as we make our ascent into what seems like the center of infinity. Grasslands opened their wide chests to breathe dusty winds over their expanse.
An ocean of the African savannah unfurls its skirt before us, curtseying to the clouds that build themselves up in the skies like the thrones of airborne kings. Being raised on the ocean, the giant expanse before me reminds me of the freedom associated with the raging and wild seas of the Atlantic, and perhaps that’s why it feels so much like home. Casting your eyes upon this sight, your breath is lost as bait to the vastness and never comes back, growing its own pair of legs and running off into the horizon with the warm winds, flavorful with animal fur and sun beams, and the distant rumbles of a lion’s groan here and a uplifting of thunder there.
There are no words for the Serengeti and yet there are a million. Humbled by its eminence, I’ve never felt so comfortable and at home in an estrangement from everything I once knew. If ever considerations were made in possible real estates for heaven, the Serengeti definitely had a high ranking. As we got to our campsite and fumbled setting up our tents, we then made dinner and ate in our Crazy creeks around a camp fire, surrounded by the new family that has been molded over the past several months.
Climbing into my sleeping bag, I listen to the sounds of the Serengeti; the combination of the enticing chuffing of lion, hyena laughter in the distance, the breathing of my tent mates, and the radiant stars singing in their joie de vivre – forms a lullaby of the utmost perfection that sends me into a dreamland of all the adventures still to come. Lala salama Mama Africa.