We took our last trip to Amboseli National Park on Monday for a Wildlife Management lecture and afternoon game drive. As we left the tarmac and began down the long dirt road to the main gate, I began reflecting on the experiences I’ve had since entering Kenya at the beginning of September. This is a flash of the memories that came to mind on that bumpy, 30 minute drive.

I was the first one out of the cars upon our arrival to our field station, Kilimanjaro Bush Camp. There was a man with the most joyous look on his face waiting for us. I walked right up to this stranger and gave him a big hug. I came to find out this man was our Center Director, Moses Okello.

The next memory I have was our first trip to Amboseli National Park 9 days later. As we pulled up in front of the green entrance, I had my first sighting of the African bush elephant.

Some of the greatest memories are from the times I’ve walked into Kimana town. Sometimes it’s just for the walk itself, but it has given me the opportunity to meet some pretty interesting people as well as make some friends. Being here feels like home to me now.

I feel myself growing as a person and absorbing the way people in Kimana interact. It gives me so much joy seeing how intimate people are with each other and how friendly they are when meeting me and my classmates. I’m anxious and excited to bring this way of interacting home and implement into my every day life.

As our time in Kenya comes to an end there are a mix of emotions flying around the Kilimanjaro Bush Camp. We’re doing our best to be present in our final days here with everything going on academically. For me, I’m sad to leave my new friends in Kenya for fear of never having the means to return but I’m also very excited to find out what Tanzania holds for us. There are many new adventures to be had with wildlife and locals. The beautiful people who have been kind enough to befriend me here in Kenya will always be in my heart.