We have officially been in Tanzania for three weeks, and tomorrow marks three weeks here at our camp on Moyo Hill. So much has happened already it’s hard to believe that it hasn’t even been a full month—but I am excited for what else is to come (unless it involves more acacia thorns, because I’ve already had one dug out of my foot and that’s more than enough)!
Tembo, one of our bandas at camp.
So far, we’ve had classes, traveling lectures, some homework assignments, and a few great non-program days. Our classes consist of Environmental Policy, Wildlife Ecology, Wildlife Management, and Swahili Language and Culture. Each class gives us different perspectives on some of the human-wildlife conflict issues that are present in Tanzania, and then we take what we’ve learned in class into the field. Recently, for example, we met with some local poachers (who knew we weren’t going to arrest them) to discuss how and why they poach. Our discussion exposed us to the human-perspective on poaching that most people don’t usually consider.
In addition to working and talking with local people, we’ve also done our first few game drives in Lake Manyara National Park! One afternoon was spent taking observations on our choice for our first Wildlife Ecology paper, and the next morning was dedicated to studying baboon behavior. Getting to see African wildlife firsthand is truly incredible.
When we aren’t studying the local policies or wildlife, we’re hanging out at camp or in town, either doing homework, playing ultimate Frisbee, or buying mango juice from the Duka. Every so often we have movie nights where we set up the projector on the porch (yes, we watched The Lion King), or we play competitive games of cards.
Some of us exploring Rhotia. (Note: Hydration is key)
So far, it’s been a great start to what I’m sure will be a great semester. Though we are a diverse group of people with different backgrounds and interests, we get along wonderfully and always have a great time. I can’t wait to see what else SFS and Tanzania has in store for us!