At the beginning of the semester, we asked student Abby Bohman about her first impressions of Tanzania. Now, as the semester wraps up, she shared her thoughts with us again.
What did you like most about the SFS experience?
Going through such a profound and exciting learning experience with people that quickly went from strangers to family, with our shared interests and passion for the work we were doing. What was also great was that everyone was willing to roll with the punches and always have a great time.
You’ve been in the country for a full semester – tell us your impressions of it now.
I love Tanzania and I don’t want to leave… everyone is so kind and friendly and happy and laughing all the time. The pole pole (slow) lifestyle is so chill and so refreshing.
What is life at the field station really like? What are the best and the most challenging parts of living at a remote field station?
The best part is living in the community with your classmates and staff, also being so close to local people and not having a super “touristy” experience. It felt very genuine. I never felt overly challenged by the remoteness because we had a lot more resources than I thought we would, however I will most definitely be appreciative of having a laundry machine back in the states.
What ended up being your biggest challenge this semester both academically and culturally?
Culturally- Constantly hearing “Jambo mwanafunzi come take a look at my shop! I have a very good price! Mwanafunzi price-very cheap! ‘Hapana Asante’ is my name!” But this was actually very manageable and provided some good laughs. Ultimately the people shouting at me also became friends.
Academically- Carrying out a research project from start to finish, and sometimes feeling like I had no idea what I was doing. It was a very good learning experience, however.
What is the best memory you have from the semester? Give some highlights.
Every time we went on an expedition. Camping, driving through the Serengeti sunset, trekking through baobab forests with our Hadzabe guides. Life at camp was so wonderful and getting to go on amazing excursions with the camp community was so much fun.
Give three adjectives that best describe how you are feeling right now.