Serengeti Life

July 10th, 1145am

Well Folks, I think this is going to be my last blog. I have been home for a week now, Africa seems so far away and unreal to me right now. I have started work again and getting back into a routine of doing things here. How different it is from Tanzania- the busyness, how dependent we are on time and being places. In Tanzania, time was a concept at camp in terms of meals and class, but otherwise, there was no concept of time. People don’t have places to go so time does not matter. That seems so much simpler compared to our chaos in America. My body is still adjusting to the food and sleep schedule. It is hard for me to imagine life without knowing Africa. I always thought I understood how difficult life is there for them when I watched documentaries or read articles about Africa, but I was no where near close. Seeing things on TV and seeing them in real life are polar opposites. The reality is so much more than TV can ever relay. I am so glad I was able to experience Tanzania, the people, the wildlife, the learning. I want to thank everyone for all of their support and donations to help me travel to Tanzania and experience something I never would have otherwise. I appreciate ya’ll following my blog and seeing Africa through my eyes. It really has been a trip of a lifetime.

July 6th, 950am

So here they are: the videos! I went through and picked out the best ones that capture the most. Don’t mind any of the commentary in the background 🙂 We thought just about anything anyone said was funny 🙂 Enjoy them! If you aren’t able to view the videos for some reason, please leave a comment so I can fix that- or at least try too 🙂

Tour of camp where I lived for 30 days

Baboon eating leaves/insect in Lake Manyara National Park

Vervet Monkeys Playing

On a Game Drive in the Serengeti. Thought Everyone Would Enjoy Experiencing That

Elephants in Serengeti

Giraffe Strutting His Stuff for Us

Hippo Walking Across Road- Reminds Me of a Pig

Hyenas- We Think There Were Cubs Below Where the Second Hyena Came From (and that was the loud noise)


Zebras and Wildebeest. All the Call Noises are Coming from the Zebras

July 3, 3pm

I finally made it home! It was exhausting; my flight from New York was delayed 6 hours due to the storm and then had to reschedule my flight from St Paul to Pasco. I was supposed to be home at 11 pm last night. Instead, I got home at 1 pm today. But it was an adventure. Very overwhelming at New York, I was a crying mess due to trying to figure everything out, leaving everyone, and the people were just so pushy and rude. Plus, I left my phone in my checked luggage so I had to use a pay phone to call Dad to let him know what was going on. I don’t think I have ever used a pay phone before.

So back to leaving Tanzania. I had a good flight from Kilimanjaro to Amsterdam. We had a 6 hour layover in Amsterdam so we went into town! We took the train to Amsterdam Central and walked around for a bit. It was so beautiful. Everyone rides bikes. A few of us sat in a small café and had breakfast. It was so nice. Then rode the train back to the airport, about 20 minutes. I got a Amsterdam stamp in my passport too!

It is nice to be home. I miss everyone though! It is amazing how close we all became in just one month. One gal, Jenn, came up with the idea of buying pants and doing a “Sisterhood of thee Traveling Pants” with them. I absolutely love the idea! I can’t wait until she lets us know the order of the who gets the pants when.

I am going to take my computer in tomorrow to see if they can fix it. I will then post my videos as soon as I can after that!

June 30th, 615pm

Ok so here is what I want to do when I get home: eat chicken, go horse back riding, and go out to dinner before Monday when I have to go back to work. Just so everyone knows 🙂

I’m am hanging out in the gazebo on camp waiting for dinner. We are having another goat roast tonight! And one of the students here is from China and she is cooking one of her dishes. I helped her chop ingredients.

One of the students here was diagnosed with Typhoid fever today! That is the most exciting thing that has happened here in terms of getting sick. It is scary though, and especially since we are going home tomorrow.

June 30th, 1045am

We just finished up with a program debrief about how the program went and improvements that could be made. We are having another debrief after lunch about “reverse culture shock” and how to handle that. Then we are going into town to visit a local market. Then we pack! I am about halfway done packing- have my big roller suitcase packed. My computer is still not working, and again I am using Sam’s right now. We got final grades yesterday and I passed with an 88.25%, a B+. I am happy with that.

I won’t be able to blog while traveling because of my computer, but will when I get home to let you know how the trip home went. Then I will do my best to get those videos uploaded on here so ya’ll can see them. So still more blogs to come, so don’t tune out yet just because I am coming home! 🙂

June 28th, 935am

Well, I just finished my final exam and am glad it is done. This afternoon, we have a non program day and I am going to learn how to wax paint. I’m pretty excited for that.

Haven’t been feeling my best lately. Upset tummy and have been super tired. I also still have a cough and stuffy nose from when I had a cold. Only a few more days until I come home. I leave Africa Tuesday evening and get home Wednesday night. I feel that I learned a lot here and that I can apply it. I have throughly enjoyed this trip.

My computer is currently not working for some unknown reason;  I am on Sam’s computer right now. I just hope that my computer will either fix itself or when it gets fixed when I get home, all my pics aren’t lost. Keep staying tuned for more posts about getting to come home. And I will definately post the videos I took on here when I get home.

June 25th, 605pm

I made it back from the Serengeti in one piece! I didn’t shower for 5 days; surprisingly, I didn’t smell too bad, just super dusty. So here is the run down of the last 5 days.

We left Saturday morning and drove to Oldupai Gorge for a lecture. This place is a famous historical site for finding human bones. Researchers trace the ancestry. That was pretty interesting. They also had a small museum about the history of the Gorge and about a Japanese Researcher who rode a bike from Tanzania to South America, Chile I think. He wanted to follow the same path that the people followed as they migrated from South America to Tanzania. Then we continued to drive forever on a bumpy road that seemed to never end. We finally arrived at the entrance to Serengeti, then we game drove to our campsite.

Staying with three other girls in our tent was fun. We were assigned tents, and it was with different people than who we are with in our bandas. The tents were huge and very roomy. Animals were very happy to visit our campsite during the night, so we have to be escorted everywhere after dark. “Everywhere” means the bathroom, because that was the farthest away from the tents. Lions, wildebeest, and cape buffalo roamed our campsite at night. There were two guys who are part of the staff escorting us for protection in case wildlife came about. We brought all of the cooking supplies and food that we would need for five days. The cooks we have do great with preparing the food. The last few days were filled with game drives and field exercises, such as birding and observing carnivores. We saw so many zebras and wildebeest. We were lucky to see part of the migration route that the zebras and wildebeest take every year as they follow where to water is. We had a lecture on  Tuesday about the history of Serengeti, management, learned more about the migration, and challenges the park is facing about maintaining and managing. It was an excellent lecture. I was taking notes like crazy, I got a hand cramp.

Any animal possible was seen: lions, zebras, wildebeest, hyenas, warthogs, giraffes, elephants,  mongooses, hippos, cheetahs, leopard, topi, gazelles, serval cat, all kinds of birds and raptors, nile crocodile, plus more. I saw a couple injured animals. One main one was a hyena whose rear paw was hanging on by a thread of muscle. The cheetahs and leopard were hard to see. We got lucky when a cheetah walked up to a termite mound close to us and sat down on it. The leopard we saw had killed a wildebeest and drug it up a tree. We also saw a few lionesses hunting but unfortunately they didn’t kill anything. One lion was watching zebra cross a road, but she never pounced. Later, we saw three lionesses watching zebra and looked like they were going to pounce, but never did. We saw an elephant who was missing half his trunk as well.

Lots of exciting things to see. The land was beautiful; I took videos and wish I could put them on here but the format the videos save in isn’t compatible with the blog site. I think when I get home I can put the videos on my other computer and hopefully change the format. I would love for you all to see them all. Well, I guess that is all I have for now. Check out the pics- there are so many I would love to put them all on here, but will pick the best ones. IMG_4134 IMG_4135 IMG_4139 IMG_4230 IMG_4244 IMG_4264 DSC00991 DSC01097 DSC01120 DSC01145 DSC01157 DSC01168 DSC01181 DSC01218 DSC01232 DSC01243 DSC01250 DSC01292 DSC01333 DSC01443









































June 20th, 835pm

We are leaving for the Serengeti tomorrow! We had a safety meeting today and then learned how to pitch the tents. They are huge army like tents that easily fit 4 people in them. We are packing and getting everything ready tonight- we leave at 730am tomorrow.

This will be a quick post tonight, there is a bonfire that I would like to sit around and then take a shower, hopefully it will be warm. I won’t have internet until next Wednesday, so I won’t be posting anything until probably Thursday. But I am sure there will be lots to say when I come back. 🙂






June 19th, 530 pm

Alright, so this the second time I am typing this because my computer didn’t save the post the first time I typed it.

Today we stayed at camp all day. We had time after breakfast to work on group presentations that we due this afternoon. The presentations were working with others who  wrote about the same topic about Manyara Ranch. We visited last week? and learned about different things the Ranch is doing to maintain the wildlife corridor. Different topics with in that were to the topics for our goals for the Ranch; they included tourism, diseases, human-wildlife conflict, and education. I wrote about diseases and how more vaccines need to be implemented to protect the livestock. Currently, the Ranch only vaccinates cattle the Ranch owns and only vaccinates them against East Coast Fever and Foot and Mouth Disease. I talked about how all the cattle on the Ranch, whether owned by the Ranch or the families, need to vaccinated with other vaccines as well.

After that, I took a nap. I have a cold 😦 and have not been feeling well the last few days. Some of the other students are sick as well. It is hard to prevent the spread of the cold when we are always so close to each other, in the bandas, in the cars. I am feeling better this evening though since my nap. Hopefully it keeps getting better because we leave for the Serengeti on Saturday!

June 18th, 9pm

Today was a traveling lecture day to learn about the Wildlife Management Area (WMA). WMA is land that is used to protect wildlife corridors, the area between national parks that the animals migrate through to get to different parks. The corridors are important because it offers safety to animals as they migrate. Local people live on WMA and have their own livestock they raise. Officers of WMA try to promote the living between wildlife and people. We learned today specifically what the WMA does (mentioned above) and different ways they are trying to integrate the local people in protecting the wildlife. Also, how the WMA raises money to maintain the land as well as the challenges they face, such as some poaching and lack of education to the local people.

It was really interesting to learn about the different management ways and how people are trying to maintain the wildlife. After we got back, most of us did laundry so we have clean clothes for Serengeti. Yep, the Serengeti, we leave on Saturday! One of the students here got a jigger in his toe and some of us watched the procedure of removing the egg sack and the flea itself. It was pretty cool. A sewing needle was used to remove it. A jigger is a species of flea that resides in arid climates and burrows in your feet, then lays the eggs. If the eggs hatch before you get the sack out, the fleas will live in your body. So that was pretty exciting!

June 17th, 835 pm

Ok, I finally finished June 16th’s post and can move on to this one. It is really peaceful right now. Jen is playing the ukulele next to me, others are playing a card game, and others are talking. Plus I have a tummy full of mashed potates, hamburger, and veggies. Alright, on to today’s adventure.

We had our home stay today. I was so nervous this morning. We went in pairs, and the person I went with was Mike. The family we stayed with was really nice but they spoke very little English and we spoke very little Swahili. So lots of body language happened today. The day began by dropping us off about 830 am with onions, tomatoes, cabbage, water, milk, sugar, and flour for the families to cook for the day for us to eat and then for us to leave with them after we left. We made tea, then cut corn stalks with a machete to feed to the cows. Lunch was cooked, and took the rest of the morning to cook. We had meat, cooked cabbage with tomatoes and onions, and rice. After lunch, we washed dishes and did laundry then sorted beans for about 2 and half hours. Then it was time to go back to camp at 5pm.

Different. Right now, that is the only word I have to describe this experience. The lifestyle is different than at home, as would be expected. But when you are actually immersed in it, the reality hits. The family just dropped trash on the ground without a second thought. Being clean and sanitary wasn’t always the first thought. Different. It seems as though they are trying to survive, instead of live. Which in a way, the people are. DSC00853 DSC00867 DSC00843 DSC00896 DSC00895 DSC00912 DSC00932 DSC00936 DSC00951
















June 16th, sometime in the evening

So I am writing this post on June 17th because I didn’t write it on June 16th. I was so tired last night that I just wanted to go to bed. We went to Ngorogoro Crater and we saw lions!! 8 lions!!! Can you believe that?! We were all so excited. The Crater is absolutely beautiful; open savanna with green hills in the background.

The day started out by having a lecture from one of the management team about Ngorogoro Conservation Area and the Crater. We learned about the history and what challenges the area is faced with. In this conservation area, Maasai people live in the area with their herds of cattle and goats. It is quite amazing that there are not many conflicts between humans and wildlife. Wildebeest and zebras run right by the herds of cattle and no one minds.

After game driving around the crater, we stopped for lunch at the hippo pool. In the afternoon, we got rained out and had to put the roofs down on the land rovers. It poured!! Thunder and dark skies and pouring down rain. Everything was soaked within minutes. But it was fun to drive around in that, looking at the animals through the windows. My favorite animals we saw were of course the lions and all the zebra. We also saw a couple hyena. The first hyena we saw had the broken rear leg and was limping across the land. NOTE:PLEASE FORGIVE THE SPACING ISSUE OF THE PICS. KEEP SCROLLING DOWN TO SEE THEM ALL.

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June 15th, 520 pm

We had our non program day today and it was quite exhausting! Most of us biked out to Lake Manyara and let me tell you, it was not a smooth ride. The dirt roads were so bumpy and had rocks in the dirt it was crazy. Once we got out to the savanna it was a smoother ride but harder to pedal because of the grass. My butt is so sore! Plus there aren’t any cushions on the bike seat, so it was a bit rough, but fun. The lake was very pretty and I got some pics. The gal with me is Caitlyn, she’s from Corpus Christi, Texas. We have a lot in common; her middle name is also “Joy” and  she rides horses. She is fascinated with surgeries and animal science like I am too.

After the bike ride, we were able to shop around Mto Wam Bu town. It was a lot quieter than Karatu, I did buy a few gifts. But the people are still somewhat pushy about getting you to buy something. Someone from our group mentioned that “Americans like to browse” which I found to be completely true.

Tomorrow we are going to Ngorogoro Crater and according to one of our Tanzanian students: “we will see as many lions as we see plants.” I don’t think that’s how he said it, it was funnier at the time, but something similar. So lions are expected to be seen and I expect to put up lots of pics tomorrow evening. DSC00566 DSC00567 DSC00560 DSC00572 🙂












June 14th, 435pm

Today was a fairly fun day. We went to Karatu for a presentation about African Culture from a man who has lived here for 50 years. It was really interesting. We learned about the history of Africa, how it became independent, and learned about cultural things such as marriage rules and why cattle, sheep, and goats are sacrificed. The presenter also had a goat skin skirt that was absolutely beautiful! The skirt was for a woman to wear on her wedding day; the hide was dyed pink and had beads embroidered on it. It was so pretty. They sell them for 500 dollars- this family does. Generally, they are made by the mother of the bride for her wedding. This class was to introduce us more to the culture before we have our home stay on Tuesday.

We also butchered two goats today for a goat roast that is tradition. There are some pics below. WARNING: If you are squeemy, close your eyes and scroll down. I only took a few pics and these are some of the better ones to portray everything. The culture uses everything; from the inards to the head to the skin. It was cool to learn more about it from the Tanzanians.

The gal with the green sweater in the pic on the Left in Sam from Virginia, and the blonde gal with me in the pic on the right is Kelsey from Massachusetts. Tomorrow is another non program day. We are going to bike to Lake Manyara and hopefully we will see wildlife along the way.

805pm: Just finished with dinner and it was super good. We had the goat plus we all got a free soda. I don’t drink soda, but I figured this time was ok since it was a special occasion. Plus, the center director had a birthday today, so we also got cake for dessert! I have also been drinking tea here when it gets too cold. It is just black tea with honey 🙂 What a good day! DSC00555 DSC00556



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June 13th, 630 pm

We went to Ayalaliyo Village today to present previous SFS students’ research about forest conservation and water sources to the village. The previous students conducted surveys and did research about the diminishing forests around the local village and how dependent the people are on the forests. None of the villagers knew English, so we had a translator. That in of itself was an interesting experience for most us because we have not had to deal with a translator before. We told the village how the tree population is decreasing due to their steady use in trees for firewood, shelter, and medicinal purposes. Climate changes have also impacted crop production, so the people are turning to trees and other secondary sources of income. Also, the water quality is decreasing due to lack of purification systems, and cattle grazing too close the water used for drinking and cooking.

The villagers were very welcoming to hear the research and we also had 10 suggestions for how the villagers can improve their community and work on conservation. These included establishing a stronger law enforcement, educating the villagers on conservation, planting more trees, strengthen village committees, and promote farming of high valued crops. SFS plans to continue working with this village so we can improve the community and work with them on conservation.

Been working on assignments this evening. Sitting in the dining hall with 11 other girls, waiting for dinner. It smells really good and we are super hungry. Talk to ya’ll tomorrow!

June 12th, 510 pm

I just woke up from a 4 hour nap! 4 hours! I went to be bed at 11 last night, we watched Jurassic Park. I was very surprised that I even stayed up that late. And then getting up at 630 completely ruined my sleeping schedule. So after lunch I took a 4 hour nap and now there is 2 hours before dinner and I haven’t even started my assignment yet.

We went to Manyara Ranch this morning to learn about what they are doing there to enhance wildlife and livestock to live together in the same area. The ranch is doing a lot to educate the community that lives around the ranch with their livestock about wildlife and introducing new ways to keep the livestock save from the wildlife. They want people to understand that both wildlife and livestock can live together cohesively by learning about new things to protect both ends of the situation. Our assignment is to create a management plan that will enhance one specific part of the ranch, such as tourism, livestock-wildlife interactions, habitat management, and disease transmission from wildlife to livestock or vice versa. The topic I choose is diseases; the Ranch has two vaccines they give the cattle to prevent diseases, but there are other vaccines that need to be taken into account along with other preventatives.

June 11th, 640 pm

Today was a day to spend in the classroom. It rained this morning and then the sun sort of came out this afternoon. We learned about forest conservation and human lion conflict. Tomorrow we are going to Manyara Ranch to learn about what they are doing their to encourage human wildlife conflict and we have an assignment to go with it. I will tell you about it tomorrow.

A lot of us went into town this evening after Swahili class to either pick up clothes that have been made or buy fabric and have things made. I spent 80,000 shillings (an equivalent of about 60 US dollars). I bought four different kinds of fabric and am having the taylor make 5 different gifts. Yes gifts! For all those of you at home 🙂

June 10th, 930pm

I am back in the game for blogging. We had a fabulous day in the Tarangire observing elephants and then just driving around looking at all the animals. I even got some sun, and am slightly sun burnt but it could be a lot worse. Maybe it will tan, but I am not too hopeful 🙂 I also had cook crew today and am now a master crepe maker. The weather does not start out as warm as I would have thought. It is always cloudy and sometimes rainy in the mornings at camp, but by the afternoon it generally warms up and the sun comes out. Tarangire is in the valley, so the sun is almost always out. The dog pic is a jackel. We saw only one of those. Yes, we did see a lion! From far away, but it still was super cool! We saw lots and lots of zebra and the pic of just the zebra’s butt is there because the zebra is missing half of his tail! The baobab trees in the park were wonderful too and I have lots of pics of those, but I won’t bore ya’ll with pics of trees when I am sure you would like to see other things. But I did put a pic up of a baobab tree that has a giant hole in the center of it.

I am feeling better today even though I still have the canker sores in my mouth.  I slept on the way to Tarangire and back and feel like my sleep is caught up.

Since I didn’t put up some info for June 8th, our non program day, I will do that now. We went to an organic coffee farm and could take a tour to learn about the coffee making process. The place was absolutely beautiful, set in the hills with all kinds of flowers. There are some pics below. The pics with me and my hands up is at the coffee farm, that is the view. We then hiked Elephant Hill. It was about a mile and a half to the top and then back. Elephants live on the hill and have caves that they live in (the red dirt pics are the caves) It was really a pretty site. The hike was fairly muddy and on the way back, I did fall a couple times. But nothing serious, just mud and possible elephant poo on my hands. 🙂DSC00293 DSC00297 DSC00306 DSC00320 DSC00322 DSC00338 DSC00356 DSC00403 DSC00408 DSC00421 DSC00433 DSC00484 DSC00494 DSC00497 DSC00501 DSC00513































June 9th, 515 pm

I don’t know what to talk about today. I have been feeling very tired today even though I got a full night’s sleep. I also have sores inside my mouth which hurt fairly badly. I have had them for a couple of days and am hoping that they will go away. Today we had lecture then observed birds and practiced identifying them. We also had a lecture learning about wildlife and livestock conflict. It was very interesting. Just an introduction to it and on Thursday we are going to Manyara Ranch to listen to a speaker about the efforts for resolving the conflict between wildlife and livestock. Tomorrow is going to be an exciting day though! We are going to Tarangire National Park to observe all wildlife, but we have an assignment for observing elephants. It will be fun!

June 8th, 540pm

I experienced culture shock today. Today was a non program day so we were able to choose what we wanted to do. I will start with the last stop of the day, exploring Karatu. This is a local town that is about 10 minutes from camp. We were able to walk around and go shopping. This was the first submersion of culture since we have been here. Yes, we have done work at the school with the kids and talked to members of the community during our field lectures but this was the first time being in town. Totally overwhelming. The people just bombard you trying to sell something, almost trying to guilt trip you into buying their product. It was absolutely crazy. We have to stay with at least one other person while in town, but I was with an entire group. I did buy a pair of loose fitting flowy pants that are really cute and a wind chime with birds on it as a gift. Just crazy, that’s all I can say about this experience.


June 7th, 840 pm

I observed baboons today for 2 hours. It was an assignment that we had to record everything we saw, activity, feeding, grooming. It was actually pretty fun. We followed a troop for about 40 minutes that had lots of babies and two injured males. They both were limping. The rest of assignment is to write a paper on the observations. Our first major assignment!

This is going to be a short blog. The observations was the only main things we did today. We had the entire afternoon to begin working on the paper. We also had a small assignment that is non graded but we are talking about it class on Monday. The first day we went to Lake Manyara we had to write down 10 animals that we saw and then us our behavior guides to learn more about them and write that down in a table.

I also hand washed my laundry! Good experience, nothing to crazy or hard about it. I kind of enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t want to do it every week.

Our final gig for the day was a hike to Moyo Hill that is right by the camp. It was about a mile to the top, but hiking up with the altitude was a little difficult,  but not bad. It was a very pretty sight. The pics are below. Tomorrow is our non program day and we are going to a coffee farm then hiking to Elephant Cave. The afternoon will be spent walking around Karatu. I’m going to purchase some fabric so I can get something made. DSC00286 DSC00288 DSC00283








June 6th, 1245 pm

Just finished lunch and I have a full tummy of pasta, mixed veggies and brown rice. Lunches are always vegetarian. We had another traveling lecture today that started in the class room with an introduction to forest degradation, land degradation, water source degradation, and wildlife degradation and the efforts to solve these problems. We had a guest speaker who is the Forest and Environment Management Officer of Karatu. We then traveled around Karatu. First stop of the morning was a local primary school  where the students are being educated about forest degradation and have their own tree nursery. The trees that the students grow are given away to families- there is a law that families are supposed to plant 10 trees a year to help revive the tree population. Most of the tree degradation was caused by humans, unfortunately, when they settled for farming and needed land for livestock. But now we are trying to educate the young about the issues and hoping that they in turn will not continue to destroy tress.

The next stop of the morning was to a local family who is using cow manure to produce methane gas to fuel their stove. The main point of this is to reduce the use of wood for fuel, therefore reducing the amount of trees that are destroyed. The family collects the cow manure from their cows and mixes it in a bin with urine and water. The mixture then travels to an underground tank where it ferments and produces methane gas. This gas then travels to the stove through another pipe. This is environmentally friendly because wood is not being used to burn and the methane gas produces CO2 and H2O when burned. However, this is not very cost effective.

The final stop was to a company that makes bricks out of sand, soil, water and cement. These bricks are much larger than normal burning bricks and are able to be made more quickly. They also last longer than burning bricks. This is just another way to use other natural resources than wood.

Hope ya’ll found that interesting. I thought it was! It is great to see the conservation acts in action. The style of learning here is so much better than at home; we start in the classroom learning then go out into the field and elaborate on the knowledge we just learned. It makes things much easier to learn. We are heading out to Lake Manyara National Park in about 25 minutes. I can’t wait! Our first official time in the parks and seeing the animals. I will post pics so you can see!




825pm: We had a fantastic time in Lake Manyara National Park! 🙂 It started out with seeing baboons and a water buck. The baboons were the most common monkey that we saw. Spending 3 hours driving throughout the park, we also saw veret and blue monkeys, warthogs, gazelle, impala, wildebeest, hippos, and elephants. We also saw a wide variety of birds. I also got some videos but the file that the videos upload in is not compatible with the blog 😦 So I will continue to try and figure it out. But the pics do some justice. DSC00166 DSC00191 DSC00192 DSC00228 DSC00232 DSC00238 DSC00242 DSC00248 DSC00266 DSC00269 DSC00272



















June 5th, 110 pm

We had our first field experience today. We had a lecture in the rain, a fair drizzle might I add, on top of Elephant Hill (KiliTrumbo is the Swahili name).  It was a pretty view, with the lake and national park surrounding us. Some pics are on this post. We talked about human and wildlife conflict and ways humans can protect their land from the wildlife to ensure humans don’t poach. Poaching is a huge problem here because humans do not have any source of income so they poach. One way to try and resolve this is educate the public and offer them other opportunities of employment.

We then drove to the next town for a lecture about water resources and saw rice fields. On the way, there was a troop of baboons on the side of the road. It was very exciting! The lecture for the water resources was very interesting. Water problems are the government’s issues and they control how much water the villages get from the canals. Rice fields surrounded us during the lecture. There were flags and people sitting with shakers to scare of the birds. If the birds get to the rice, then the entire rice crop is lost. The people sit there for one full month while the rice crop is initially growing. It takes 6 months for the rice from seed to harvest. The gal with me in the pic is Melanie.

Our community service was super fun! I spent 2 hours shoveling dirt, filling holes, and playing with the school kids. The kids were so excited to see us and play. They all were asking our names and where we are from. I was quite a site to see all the kids on the soccer field enjoying themselves. I didn’t take my camera because I would never have gotten it back 🙂 The kids love playing with them and taking pics.

We are just sitting in the dining hall right now hanging out and having a snack. We don’t get dinner till 7 which is 1 1/2 hours away. Until tomorrow- I can’t wait to share with you about our trip to Lake Manyara National Park. 🙂 P.S. If you click on the pics they should come up larger so they are easier to see.

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June 4th, 520 pm

We started classes today. One class was a more formal introduction to the faculty and what the main case study is of the program. Everything here is focused around the bio and socio economic conflicts between the wildlife and humans and about the conservation and management of the land. The next class we had was about different mammals that we will be seeing and some general facts about them. The last class of the day was learning about primates. We focused on just baboons; their social structure, reproduction and behaviors. Tomorrow we going out into the field for a “traveling lecture.” And we have HW already! haha but it is mostly done out in the field so that isn’t too bad.

I also was on cook duty today along with a couple other girls for breakfast this morning. I cracked and cooked 5 dozen eggs. It was pretty fun being in a different kitchen and seeing how everything is prepared. I will have cook duty with the other girls once a week now. We also help with dishes after dinner.

I took a video today of camp but I am not sure if I can get it on here. Hopefully I can figure it out. The last video I posted I had to put on youtube first, then put on the blog. But we are not allowed to use youtube here because it could cause the internet to go down. But I am going to walk with a couple of girls and I will give the video a try after dinner!

Our walk did not go very far,  we were met by school kids who go to the primary school about 1/4 mile from the camp. They were very excited to see the cameras and wanted to take pics! Some of the pics that they took are below. One of the boys asked if we could print the pics; I asked our student affairs manager after dinner and she said that there is a place in town that will print pics for you. The manager goes there after our “home stay” (where pairs of students spend the day with a local family) and prints our pics from there; she told me that she can print the pics the kids too. DSC00123 DSC00092 DSC00101 DSC00106

After dinner, I had dish cleaning duty along with the other girls who were on cook duty this morning. All the cooking pans from the day needed to washed and it took a lot of elbow grease! But we made it through with clean pans for tomorrow. The traveling lecture is tomorrow as well from 8am to noon then we are doing community service. We will be going to the school and digging holes for a new restroom that is being put in, filling holes in the field and just interacting with the students. Should be fun!! 🙂


I can’t get the video on here without going onto youtube and I don’t want to risk the internet going down. The 3rd video on the Past Students’ Adventures on my blog is a tour of the camp and it looks the same here as in the video.

June 3rd, 925 pm in Tanzania

I made it to Tanzania in one piece! We flew in last night and ended up staying at a hotel in one of the towns. Much different- the rooms were super tiny and the water for the shower was very cold. My room mate and I got up early to the sounds of honking- right outside the hotel was buses for school and people going to work. Everyone honks in Tanzania; and the driving is crazy. People are passing others when it is not the best time too, and they go fast. My room mate and I took some pics of the kids, they are in this post.

We left after breakfast and headed to the camp, about 2 hour drive. We passed many more villages and saw Messai moving their cattle, goats and donkeys the farther we got out of town. The scenery was beautiful with the green trees and open spaces. I also saw a donkey tied to a tree by its hock. I saw my first wildlife today. As we were entering Lake Manya National Park, someone pointed out giraffes. There were three of them! Very cool to see.

Today at camp we had orientation and started getting prepared for our stay here for the next 4 weeks. Very exciting and everyone here is very nice. I am feeling a bit homesick though. I think it has finally sunk in that I am not at home and in a strange land for the next month. But as we get settled into the routine and start learning, I’m sure that it will get better. I am staying in a “banda” with 3 other girls who are very nice. I am on the bottom bunk and hopefully within the next few days I can take some pics of where I am staying. The pic of the food is my lunch I had today: Rice and beef, cucumbers and carrots and zucchini in some type of sauce. There are jitter bugs that are like fleas that live on the ground and burrow in your feet and then hatch eggs. So we have to wear shoes everywhere, even inside and in the showers.

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24 thoughts on “Serengeti Life

  1. Thanks for the updates! And yea for shoes and not having to drive inTanzania! 🙂 Probably makes Spokane traffic feel like nothing 🙂

  2. We are enjoying your blogs. We had a laugh at what HW might mean – was it Hot Water? that didn’t make sense. Home Work was our next guess. Aren’t you glad you’ve done some cooking at home? Cooking for a crowed will be an asset. You are going to learn so much on this trip. Love you. Grandma

    • I figured it out faster than you Ginger, but that’s only bc I’ve been on internet FOREVER,! Hahha
      Aren’t the children beautiful! This is sooo interesting!

  3. Glad to see you are having a good time and thanks for your blogs. Your pix make me homesick for Africa! Wish I could be there with you!

  4. Amie, it’s so cool to read your blog and see the pics. It seems surreal to think of you so far away. I can only imagine how strange it seems for you to wake up there each day. I’m so jealous.

  5. We are enjoying the Blog. It comes about 8am here at home. We have ” Breakfast and the Blog ” every morning. What a lot of new things you are learning everyday. Love you, Grandma

  6. I absolutely love water bucks (the ones that sat on a freshly white painted toilet seat) and vervet monkeys too. Everyone called the little baboons “wing nuts” bc of their cute ears. Love you blog! Sue

  7. So the elephants actually live in dirt caves? That’s cool! Do they just sleep there?

    Thanks again for the updates! Keep ’em coming.

    • The elephants in that area live in the caves. I don’t think that elephants out in the national parks live in caves. Yep, the elephants sleep there. The guide said that sometimes a baboon will sleep in there with the elephant too.

  8. Wow with the goats! We went to a field trip a year or two ago where they killed and quartered 3 cows – that was an experience! But Jason was preaching through the book of Hebrews at the time so Z and I talked about the Old Testament sacrifices that were required – and how we’re thankful we don’t have to do them anymore! Definitely not for the faint of heart 🙂 I can imagine that they try to sell you stuff – you probably stick out as a tourist 🙂 You mentioned when it gets cold – what’s the weather like? Z and I have been learning about Tanzania a bit and were curious 🙂

    • Ya unfortunately we do stick out like a tourist, but luckily we have learned how to bargain and don’t pay the tourist prices. The weather right now is chilly in mornings, generally with some rain, then warms up and the suns come out in the afternoon. Maybe high 60’s in the afternoon. Sometimes a bit warmer depending where we are in the valley. The rain is unusual for this time of year, it is the start of the dry season right now and the start of winter.

  9. Amie – it is so enlightening and heartening to read your blog and see the pictures! One of our marketing interns is going to do a feature on it. She might want to interview when you get back!! – Kate

  10. I noticed you were wearing skirts or a dress I think at times…. explain 🙂 I have had friends that said once they lived in Africa they would retire there! 🙂 I have always loved elephants and did reports in College on the poaching and the remember seeing pictures of them breaking the tusks when an elephant had been trapped because they instinctively knew why they were being hunted. They really mourned the death of other elephants. Very moving! So glad you are loving this experience!

    • I have been wearing skirts. We have to when we go into the community because that is proper dress, the people here are very conservative so we have to be also, no shoulders or legs showing. I am glad you are enjoying my blog. It has been great here 🙂

  11. Typhoid fever! Wow. Just for random information, that’s what one of the Wright brothers died of at age 45. But might not be helpful to tell the sick person that :). Have an awesome trip home!

  12. Your grandparents sent me you blog address early in june, i’m so glad they did as I so enjoyed following your trip, WOW what an experience! Glad you’re home safely! To bad about all the issues in NY.
    I don’t think i could use a ‘payphone” myself anymore!
    love cheryle K

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