Saturday, October 30, 2010

tomorrow is my shower day

I've gotten used to showering about every 6 or 7 days here. In Tanzania we quickly became aware of the reality of water issues in East Africa. We talked to the water board for the villages in the Rhotia area, helped our homestay families fetch their 2 buckets of water for the day, and experienced numerous hours when the water wasn't running in camp. It was a regular occurrence to see the staff filling the tanks of water from trucks that came to camp from a town about 30 minutes away, and realized how lucky this set-up was. In Kenya, there is a bore hole to supply water from Kilimanjaro so we probably don't need to be quite as mindful of water use, but I think the consensus is that we will keep up our efforts to conserve water, as we are now so aware of how little most East Africans can access each day. If we can live in close quarters with 27 other people who take showering as seriously as the tooth fairy, I think people in the US can manage to shower less as well. Especially when we are in semi-arid Africa! (just to clarify - just because I only take a shower once a week doesn't mean I never otherwise wash - wash cloths and baby wipes are effective, fast, and save tons of water)

I could talk for a lot longer on water issues in Africa, but instead I will just point towards an article we saw in the NY Times that inspired this rant.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Karibu Kenya!

Hello all, we are safe in Kenya and getting accustomed to the new camp. It is beautiful here! And quite different from Tanzania. It was a long drive from Rhotia to Kimana on Tuesday, though on the way we got a break in Arusha, where we went to a real grocery store (that had oreos and granola!). We were welcomed to the KBC by all the staff and the students who have been here since September.
Yesterday we spent the day doing stuff with the other group and exploring the camp. It has been an exciting but overwhelming few days. It was hard to say goodbye to everyone in Tanzania, and then strange to arrive here in Kenya and know we will be living here for a month and a half. Plus, there were so many American students and we were all going through a strange transition - them trying to say goodbye to the camp while we were preparing to stay here. The students left early this morning for Tanzania (I had cook crew this morning and had to wake up at 4:45!), and before lunch we had a long class about our case study (about the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem) and other academic info.
We had a lecture from the Kenya Student Affairs Manager, Molly, that should be called "Things that can hurt you in Kenya, duh duh duh...". It wasn't too scary though, because we already familiar with most of the things. The difference is that since we lived in the center of a village in TZ, we only had to think about run-ins with buffalo and elephant while visiting the parks (though that really isn't an issue because we are in land rovers). Here at KBC, we have vervets and baboons living next to our bandas, scorpions, many venomous snakes living in the tall grass, and elephants who once in a while knock down the fence that surrounds the camp. So much to look forward to! Maybe I'll have a few stories to tell, ones that don't involve close encounters...
I hope I can upload a photo or two soon, as it is really beautiful here! And I will soon write more about what we are up to and what Kenya is like. We literally live below Kilimanjaro and it is awesome to stare up at it while running around the trail. Best wishes to all back in the states, Catherine

Monday, October 25, 2010

Our new address:
Center for Wildlife Management Studies
P.O. Box 27743 (Nyayo Stadium)
East Africa

a quick note – we won’t be as lucky about internet in Kenya as we have been here. We’ll have power only at night, when a generator turns on, and we probably will get to check email every other day. That is a bit worrisome at the moment because soon I’ll have to sign up for classes for the spring! But anyway, blog posts may not be as frequent (not like they have been so far anyway, pole!). I’d still love to read emails from people about how life is back in the US, though, and I will try to write back!

Nitakosa Tanzania

Today is our last full day in Tanzania. Tomorrow morning we get on a bus and drive to Kenya, which will take about 8 hours. I’m excited about the drive – we will go through Arusha (where we will go to a grocery store!) and then drive around Kilimanjaro and then north into Kenya. The Kenya camp, which is called Kimana Bush Camp, is much more remote than the Tanzania site, but I’ll give more description once we arrive and I see it! We will have two nights at KBC with the other group of students before they leave on Thursday morning for Tanzania. It’s exciting and also strange that we will be able to interact with people our own age who speak fluent English! And we will be meeting the staff and faculty in Kenya… so many things to anticipate! This morning we had a meeting with Erica, the student affairs manager, to discuss the logistics of the switch, which I guess was quite a challenge for the last group. (This is only the second time this program has happened in two countries) It will definitely be challenging to adjust to a new environment and to not compare everything about Kenya and Tanzania. As much as I will miss Tanzania, though, I am ready for a change because I know we’ll have tons of great adventures in Kenya just as we did here.

Ok, here are some things I will miss most about living in Rhotia:
- The people – they are quiet, gentle, kind, friendly – the staff here at camp and the people we have met in town are the ones who have truly made us love Tanzania.
- The sounds – there are so many sounds here that we can’t here in the US because of cars and buildings. Dogs barking, cows mooing, chickens clucking, birds singing (and bird songs here totally own bird songs in Maine…)
- The language barrier – Many more people in Kenya speak English and in many ways that is a good thing. But I am very glad that we came to Tanzania first, where we really had to learn Swahili or Iraqw or Maasai in order to communicate with our neighbors. I am of course not very proficient, but I’ve come to appreciate that there understanding a language is not necessary in order to connect with a person. And another big thing I’ve learned – embrace awkwardness, because you encounter this on a daily (or hourly) basis with Tanzanians.
- Men holding hands as friends – maybe this happens in Kenya too, but how great is it to see such genuine caring between guys friends on a daily basis
- Watching the sun set from our front gate. The sun definitely looks bigger here and you watch as it speeds down the sky in about 5 minutes before sinking below the hills.
- jiggers… just kidding – these are little bugs that live in the dust and have plagued us all semester. I won’t go into details, but in the program director’s words, they represent “negative biodiversity” that we should wage war on… hopefully when the rains come jiggers (“funza” in Swahili and spelled “jiguz” by our Swahili professor) will be less of a problem for the next group
- Running to Moyo Hill – I feel like I mention this a lot, but it will definitely remain as one of my favorite memories of Tanzania. The view is stunning every time I go, and I always take a break and sit for a while looking out over the land and listening to all the sounds. You can look down the hill and watch as kids run after goats and sheep, mamas hang laundry on bushes to dry, and people carry water back to their homes on carts or on their heads. These are the scenes of Tanazania that I don’t want to forget, especially when they are framed by the beautiful backdrop of Lake Manyara and the Karatu countryside. We have learned about and seen first hand all of the challenges facing Tanzania – poverty, water access, education, land scarcity, population increases, and so many conflicting priorities relating to conservation of wildlife. But it is important to keep in mind that real people live here and somehow get through every day, and from my experiences these people are some of the most friendly, modest, and caring people in the world. It will take a long time to process all of the things that my time here has given me, but right now I am particularly aware of how valuable my interactions with Tanzanians have been.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Community Service Project

Kazi nzuri! the assembly line bringing cement into the rooms
the kitchen before cement was laid down. There
was a black mamba, a really poisonous snake,  hiding in
the rocks that we found as it slithered
 up through the cement. A teacher killed
it with a shovel!
Today (Saturday) we worked on our last community service project in Tanzania. We poured cement for the floors of the kitchen and food storage room at the primary school down the road from our camp. This is the school that we go and read at a few times a week and we raised money among ourselves to buy the materials to build them a real kitchen. Some of the oldest kids of the school (ages 11 and 12) were there to help, as well as the teachers, head mistress, and a fundi (builder) to oversee everything. On a related note, yesterday afternoon we attended mass at the catholic church in Rhotia with all the primary school students. After school ended for them they gathered outside our gate and we walked to the church with them. As usual, our hands were instantly grabbed by kids. We are still seen as spectacles by the kids, but it is nice that we can make some conversation with them now. And I recognize a number of them from reading in the afternoons. One girl is named Catherine and she is very pleased to share my name.
            Today we arrived at the school around 11:30, because this morning we had a debrief meeting with the center director, Dr. Okello, about all the aspects of our time with SFS so far. So we were working on the school in the heat of the day. I’ll just briefly describe the process of mixing and pouring cement, which we’ve actually done on two occasions here in Tanzania. Cement is a mixture of sand, cement powder, and water (and today also small rocks). First you mix bags of cement into a big pile of sand, then you turn the pile over with shovels and then add rocks. You flatten out the mixture into a big circle and then pour water to make little moats, then mix in the water. We used an assembly line to pass buckets of cement into the rooms, and people spread down the cement and leveled it. It was pretty tiring being in the sun and lifting heavy things, but definitely worth it. It was great to work next to the students who will directly benefit from the project, and they helped us stay happy with their energy. After we finished, we stood in a circle and thanked each other, and the headmistress welcomed us to come back to Tanzania in the future to teach at the school. That sounds like a great idea to me! :) I am hoping that our relationship with the school gets stronger with time – the plan is to continue to send SFS students to the school for reading and to finish the kitchen project.
a view of the classrooms where we would read

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Recap of the last week

 We’ve had a busy week since returning from the Serengeti. This morning we finished up with our last of about 8 assignments, mostly papers. Some of these included a paper on gender roles in different Tanzanian tribes and a paper for Environmental Policy about an institutional assessment we conducted on the water council that controls water distribution in Rhotia. We also had a project for Wildlife Management that involved doing lots of data calculations in Excel, like Simpson’s Diversity indices, t-tests, chi-squares, etc, to look at species habitat relationships in Tarangire National Park. We used our data from the day we did large animal counts in the park, and presented all our findings in posters that we presented this morning. That assignment was good practice for our directed research projects.

Here are some other things we’ve been up to:

Last Thursday we had an auction among all the students to raise money for our community service project at the primary school. Each of us contributed an item or service and we raised over 500 dollars! The item I auctioned was my service of doing one bucket of laundry for someone. Others included massages, doing breakfast crews, being a personal servant for a day, food, and music sharing. The money we raised will go to our project of improving the school’s kitchen, which currently has an uneven dirt floor, an unfinished roof, and a 3 stone stove (literally 3 big stones on the ground in a triangle and a fire in the center). Our first priority is to make a cement floor, and then to finish the walls and ceiling and install a real stove (which is safer, healthier, and saves lots of firewood). We’ll go to the school on Saturday to start the work and build a volleyball court. Tomorrow afternoon we have been invited to attend a mass at the Catholic church with the students of the school as a way for the school to acknowledge their appreciation and good wishes.

On our non-program day on Sunday a few of us went with Elias, one of the staff, to his house in Rhotia to meet his family. His wife’s name is Paulina and their children are named Happiness, Journey, and Winner. Winner is their son and he was definitely scared by us – we were the first wazungo to interact with any of them. We sat and chatted, mostly with Elias in English, and then were served chai. After all our activities relating to classes and the Serengeti I was feeling kind of disconnected with traditional Tanzanian culture, so it was really nice to visit with Elias’ family and remember what normal life is like in Tanzania.

We had a traveling lecture on Monday led by a man who is the director of natural resource management and conservation for the Karatu district. We went to a secondary school in a neighboring town, called Kilimatembo, where they have a very successful program for raising tree seedlings. Deforestation has really impacted this area and replanting trees is super important for preventing erosion, ensuring the availability of firewood, and enriching the soil. We also heard about alternative types of stoves and methods of making bricks for houses that don’t use tons of firewood like the traditional practice of burning bricks does.

I went to the primary school to read on Tuesday and after working with a class of 10 to 12 year olds we taught them a few songs in English. We taught them “Baa Baa Black Sheep” and the Banana song. They conversely taught us a few games, including a hand clapping game and something that seems to be human tug-of-war…

We are switching to Kenya on Tuesday, so everything is wrapping up here and we’re all trying to soak in as much of Tanzania as we can. We’ll have about one week of classes after we arrive at the Kenya site, and then the rest of the semester will be our directed research (DR) projects. It is crazy how fast these past few months have gone. I still feel like there are many things about Tanzania that I have to learn. I’ll be very sad to leave the camp, especially because of the great staff. But Kenya will be great as well. Right now I just have to take advantage of my time here.

I’ve been going on lots of runs up to Moyo Hill, where there is a gorgeous overlook onto the whole region. It is one of the most beautiful spots I’ve ever seen and it’s so nice that we live only a 10 minute run from it! The past two times I’ve run there, I’ve seen a dik dik (a small antelope, so cute!) running down the hill from the same spot - it must browse on the same bush every afternoon. I’ll miss running here because of the views, but in Kenya we will have a long loop to run around within the camp (because there are wild animals right outside) and you can see Kilimanjaro from the camp! It’ll also be different to not have to stop to say “jambo” to everyone I pass and get my hand grabbed by little kids who want to run with me. While the Tanzania camp is in a town, the Kenya camp is very remote. There are so many things that have become routine here, so it will be interesting to go to Kenya and become familiar with a completely different place. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

photos from the Serengeti

Oldupai Gorge

sunset in the Serengeti
a pride of 15 lions

our camp

Fisher's lovebird

the pool at Serena Lodge

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Our trip was amazing, and I could talk about it for quite a while. Here are some highlights of our five days. We were there from Saturday afternoon to Wednesday morning.

- Oldupai Gorge – We left early on Saturday morning, packing up all of our stuff into the land rovers and our giant covered truck that we call the White Rhino. Most of the drive to the Serengeti is through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and it was exciting and extremely bumpy to drive along dirt roads through beautiful hills and open plains in anticipation. On the way we stopped at Oldupai Gorge, which is a 30 mile long gorge that has been the site of tons of important discoveries of prehistoric artifacts and fossils. We heard a lecture in which there was an emphasis on how “Olduvai” was a mistake made by the German scientist who first wrote about the gorge and that we should help spread the true name, which comes from a Maasai name of a plant. We also heard about the Leakeys, who are famous for all of their discoveries and work in East Africa, saw cool fossils, and saw a reproduction of the Laetoli Footprints, found by Mary Leakey close to the gorge. We arrived at the Serengeti gate in the early afternoon and did a game drive in to our camp. On the way we saw a leopard (chui in Swahili) in a tree with its kill sitting on a nearby branch!
- So a major highlight of the trip was that we got to camp inside the park, and that meant that we had lots of wild visitors coming through our site. There are a bunch of both group and private sites within the park (which is 14,700 km2 in all) and none of the sites are fenced. We had a big campsite equipped with toilets and a covered building for food prep. We set up our tents in a circle, with students on the inside and staff surrounding us. There were two ascari (guards) who stayed up all night to chase away hyenas, etc. It was really cool to hear all the wildlife at night – hyenas, zebra, lions… We saw giraffes and elephants walking around the site during the day, and had many run-ins with hyenas at night. Once a hyena grabbed hold of a trash bin and the ascari literally played tug-of-war with it (I was so disappointed that I didn’t wake up to hear that!). We also had a lion and a hippo walk close by in the night.
- Expedition involved waking up super early almost every day, but that was okay because it was always for something cool. On Saturday we woke up for a 6am morning safari drive, on which we saw the sunrise as well as cool animals like a lioness, four cheetahs, elephants, and many beautiful birds. Even though we’ve seen many elephants by now, it will never get old to see a line of them walking across an open plain or through a wooded area. It’s the same for all the other animals as well – we’ve seen so many impala and Thomson’s gazelle by now, but I always enjoy seeing more.
- Don’t worry, we didn’t just go to the Serengeti and act like tourists for the whole time. We had three scheduled lectures from park employees. For two of them we went to the Serengeti Wildlife Research Center, where one of our professors used to work. We heard from a vet about diseases affecting wildlife in the park and from a PhD student research herbivore – plant interactions in the western part of the park. We also went to the visitor’s center and heard a lecture on tourism. We had a number of field assignments to work on while we were there, too. One is an ongoing collection of info on all the wildlife we see and then we had two exercises for our Wildlife Ecology class, one on birds and one on antelope. I really enjoyed the bird identification one, as all the birds here are really cool and beautiful, and it is also challenging and exciting to try to identify them – so much diversity!
- Serengeti is definitely my favorite park that we’ve seen. It holds tons of wildlife, which is of course awesome, but I really loved the physical environment. It is very diverse, and the weather there also varied more than we’ve seen since we arrived in Africa. On Sunday afternoon we got to experience a giant storm – torrential rain, strong winds, thunder and lightening! It was the first real rain we’ve felt and it was quite exciting. The storm came on very quickly, though we heard lots of thunder in the distance beforehand, and within the hour that it lasted our camp turned into a river. It was a very wet night, but kind of nice to be cold for once! On Tuesday night we saw another storm as we drove back to our camp – on one horizon we could watch rain clouds and lightening strikes and on the other horizon it was clear blue sky and puffy clouds.
“Serengeti” comes from a Maasai word for “endless plain”. The Serengeti is full of seas of grass with islands of kopjes (pronounced “copies”). Bubbles of volcanic rock once formed over beds of granite and then erosion of the landscape led to these outcrops being exposed at the surface, like the tips of icebergs poking up from the sea. Seeing so many kopjes and Umbrella trees made me realize where stereotypical scenes of Africa come from (think Lion King – we saw sooo many Pride Rocks!). There are also some major hills, which I didn’t really expect, and riverine and wooded habitats.
- One last highlight (I could go on…) was an afternoon we spent at one of the lodges in the park. Serena Lodge is perched on a hill and was a gorgeous, fancy haven for us after 4 days of being dirty and wet. We had the option of eating at their giant buffet (they had cheese which was a major attraction). I didn’t go for that, though, because they also had a pool! I spent most of my time swimming around the kidney bean-shaped pool, which had a fake waterfall and a view of the plains. It is always overwhelming to see such extravagance in Africa, but it was really nice to enjoy the chlorine and it was a chance to get clean.

So in general, the Serengeti is amazing and our expedition was probably the best experience we’ve had so far. We spent most of our time bouncing around in Land Rovers, woke up really early and were always tired, got really dirty, but hardly noticed those things because it was just so cool. I often have to remind myself where I am and how lucky we are to get to do the cool things that we do, but the Serengeti definitely peaked in the category of “amazing and surreal”. I hope that you enjoyed hearing about it, and I will post photos as soon as the internet cooperates and I have time. Also, I apologize for any typos, it is late and I don't have the energy to edit. 
Badai, Catherine

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Back from the Serengeti!

Here is a photo from our trip to the Serengeti! We got back to camp this afternoon. I will write a long post about the highlights soon, but right now here is a photo... the whole trip was really awesome and I can't wait to talk about it!

Friday, October 8, 2010

off to the Serengeti (and some photos)

Tomorrow we leave for our five-day expedition in the Serengeti! We will be camping within the park, and doing lots of game drives and field exercises. One of the things we’ll be focusing on is a survey of wildebeest populations, specifically looking at the age structure and sex ratios of wildebeest in the park. We’ll get to do some early morning and evening game drives, when we’ll hopefully see animals that aren’t as active during the day, like the big carnivores. We’re all really excited to get out of camp for a bit and spend time in such an awesome place! I’ll have lots to talk about when we get back.

Here are some views of the areas around our camp! On the right is the view of the hills we see when we look outside the camp gate, and on the left is a view from the top of a hike we do near camp.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

(again, this was written yesterday but our internet wasn't cooperating until now)

            It is the start of a busy week of studying for and then taking exams in three of our classes – Environmental Policy, Wildlife Ecology, and Wildlife Management. We take the exams on Wednesday and Thursday (Juma tano and alhamisi in Swahili) and then on Saturday (Juma mosi) we leave for our trip to Serengeti! I’m really excited about that, but now I want to talk about some cool things we’ve done recently.
            Yesterday was a non-program day and in the morning I joined a few other students and some staff and went to the Catholic Church in Rhotia. It was a really cool experience! We of course got stared at a lot, as we were probably some of the only white people to ever attend the church. After the service the priest talked to us and the whole time he was chuckling – impressed that we could speak to him in some Swahili and also probably amazed that he had had wazungu (white people) in his congregation. The entire service was in Swahili except for a few sentences at the end of the sermon when the priest welcomed us to the church. I had a decent idea of what was going on the whole time based on my awareness of the basic structure of a service. I was able to pick out a good amount of Swahili words that I know and it was nice to listen to the readings and try to pick out the parts of sentences, etc. My favorite part by far was the singing – there was a large choir at the front and center of the congregation and between every piece of the service was a song. The choir members were all young, ages 14 to 22, and there were about 10 really young kids in the very front whose job was to dance. The entire choir was constantly in motion during the songs –moving their arms and feet in rhythm. The rest of the congregation could sing if they wanted – most of the songs were repetitive and had catchy melodies, and all really uplifting and joyful. It was interesting to notice that during the choruses of songs, older women in the pews would make throaty, yodeling-type sounds as a way to acknowledge their praise and enjoyment of the music. Overall, I’m very glad I went – it was a centering and reassuring experience to attend a church service here in Tanzania. The fact that I could hardly understand the words did not matter that much. Yesterday helped me realize the connection that a religion can foster among people otherwise separated by continents and languages.            
            The other exciting thing I did yesterday when I wasn’t studying was go into Karatu for about an hour, where I bought cloth and walked around in the market. On our way back to camp we stopped at an art gallery, run by an American woman, where they have beautiful art and crafts that benefit various disadvantaged groups in Tanzania. Also, there was a kitchen that makes American food and homemade ice cream! Some students went there last week after they had to go to the clinic in Karatu, and they kept this amazing paradise a secret until yesterday... We sat on couches on the porch of the gallery and enjoyed the view of the Tanzanian hills being lit up by the afternoon sun. AND WE ATE ICE CREAM! It was unreal - ice cream (something that we bring up longingly whenever we get cravings for food from home), as well as comfy couches and even dogs that you could pet! I am actually not at all unhappy with how we are living here, despite how excited I was about the ice cream. I like how living in Tanzania for a month has made all of us become so easily amazed by comforts that we’d take for granted at home.
            This afternoon marked the start of a reading program we are doing with the primary school next to our camp. Around five SFS students will go over after school in the afternoons and work with a class, either helping students with words as they read by themselves or reading a book aloud to the students. We didn’t know what to expect because today was the first day, but the class, composed of kids around age 11, seemed to really enjoy it. I sat with a group of girls and first just looked through books with them and pointed out words to them that they would know or that would be good to learn. At the end the whole group read “Curious George” aloud to me as I held the book and helped with pronunciation. It was fun to be both a teacher and a student; I would ask them about Swahili words as they learned the English ones. Hopefully this is the start of a solid bond between SFS and the school. We’ve played soccer over there before, and we are also planning a service problem there involving a renovation of the kitchen. So, more info on that to come!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Crater
            Today we went to Ngorongoro Crater, which is the largest caldera in the world. Here is some background on the crater… It is part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which is a 8300 km2 multi land use area. Major features of the NCA include the crater itself, which is 350 km2, a few other craters, Olduvai Gorge, the Alaitole foot prints, and lots of open plains that house both wildlife and Maasai. It was really cool to see boys grazing cattle across the road from a herd of zebra. About 2.5 million years ago the Ngorongoro volcano erupted and 2 million years ago the volcano collapsed, leaving the crater. Now the crater is home to tons of wildlife; the NCA is not an enclosed area, so animals are able to move freely. Some species (e.g. giraffe) aren’t found within the crater, though, because the rim is very steep and about 600 meters high. It was exciting to arrive at the rim and look down on the crater, and the trek into and out of the crater was steep and bumpy in our land rovers.
Grant's Gazelle in the Crater
            So this morning we all woke up early to have breakfast and leave the camp at 6:30am. When we first arrived in the NCA, we went to the NCA headquarters where we heard a talk given by the manager for ecological monitoring within the conservation area. It was a really interesting talk and it got us all excited about how close we were to seeing wildlife! It was actually quite cold this morning, and the rim of the crater was windy and foggy. Once we drove down into the crater it got sunnier, but it was windy all day and we got so so dusty! You get especially covered in dust if you put on sunscreen, so a bunch of us looked like we climbed out of a coalmine by the end of the day.

            Our drive through the crater was really fun, as all safari rides are! We saw many herds of wildebeest, zebra, African buffalo, and gazelle. Also warthog, hartebeest, ostrich, hippos, hyenas, and a few elephants. The highlight of our day was seeing lions, though! We were told over the car radios that we would find a pride of lions at a creek, and as we were driving over we got to see a female lion stalking wildebeest. That was my first time to ever see a lion! She didn’t make a kill, but after she gave up on the chase she walked across the road about 2 meters from our car! We got to see 4 cubs, two females, and a male lounging by a creek. They were all panting and trying to stay cool. Two of the cubs lay down under another safari car for a while!
It was awesome to watch them move – they are so powerful and graceful. As we were driving away from the lions we realized that our car had a flat tire. Sooo, our driver Moses and the student affairs manager, Erica, changed our tire as we sat in the car 75 meters from the lions! We weren’t allowed to get out of the car so we were on lion watch, instructed to warn Moses if they got to be 4 meters away. Moses was so calm and nonchalant, while all of us were bursting with excitement (and Erica was expressing some anxiety – she is such a good mom to us!).
            We saw more lions though out the day as well – there were 3 males napping at the entrance of the ladies room when we stopped for lunch, so we had to drive the car up really close to the men’s side. It was overall a really lucky day for lion sightings. Now, as far as big cats go, I’ve seen cheetahs and lions! We were a bit sad to not see any Black Rhino today, as a healthy population is found in the crater. I’m hoping we’ll have a chance to observe some in the Serengeti, we go there next Saturday for a week long expedition. Our main focus there will be a wildebeest population survey. So excited! It is amazing how quickly the last month has gone by. It is already October and we have 3 exams this week!

Badai (later), Catherine