It’s been a little over a week since we first heard the word karibu, or “welcome,” from the smiling faculty and staff at Moyo Hill Camp. We had all arrived with our heavy luggage, varying levels of jet lag, and an almost overwhelming sense of excitement for the adventures to come. Although one of the first things we learned about Tanzania was the pole pole (“slowly”) lifestyle, we quickly discovered that our first week would be anything but.
Learning at Moyo Hill takes many different forms. We quickly learnt our new friends’ names through games and conversations. We were taught key Swahili words and phrases through daily interactions with staff and faculty. On our second day, we gained valuable skills in order to barter at a busy market in the nearby town of Karatu. Visual learning took on a new meaning when one of our first lectures was spent on a hill overlooking the ecosystem our lesson was covering. As we listened to our professors, we were able to look around at the expansive landscape full of farms and rolling hills and imagine a time when forests replaced farms and elephants, giraffes, and other wildlife called the entire area home. It was an awe-inspiring moment that set the tone for this coming month.
We continued to carry this excitement and motivation while listening intently to our knowledgeable guest lecturers and the surrounding communities. A primary school taught us the importance of raising trees for farmers and supporting local communities. A family with a biofuel stove taught us that our own individual choices can have large impacts. And while a picture is worth a thousand words, observational studies of wildlife in national parks taught us that patience and attentiveness yield impactful memories and powerful learning encounters.
As we continue to learn from one another, our professors, and the nature that surrounds us, we are reminded that not only is Tanzania becoming our home for this month, but it is also becoming a haven to foster our growth and larger understanding of a world we all share and care to protect. While most of us hope that our remaining time here will indeed pass pole pole, we can all rest assured knowing that the lessons and inspiration created here will follow us home and continue to challenge and motivate us each and every day. Asante sana, SFS, Tanzania, and Rhotia for that incredible gift.