We've completed the first week at Ndarakwai Ranch and are now heading out Lake Natron and Loliondo, some incredibly spectacular areas, but ones with very limited development and connectivity. Likely no cell service for the next 2-5 days, so no news is good news! We'll be back in touch once we get back into cell service.
"This much is crystal-clear: our bigger-and-better is now like a hypochondriac, so obsessed with its own economic health as to have lost the capacity to be healthy."
Forward to A Sand County Almanac
Quick update that all the students arrived safely and we're heading out to Ndarakwai now for a bite to eat and some much needed rest!
For anyone who has started to follow this blog because your student is getting ready to travel to Tanzania with Penn State: welcome! My name is Paul Shaffner and from looking around this site, you can learn a fair amount about me. I work for the College of Science at Penn State and am co-instructing this course. I've been in Tanzania since Tuesday getting things ready for your students to arrive. I've printed up the course packets with the readings that they will be doing, gotten a research permit lined up, and purchased various odds and ends that will come in handy over the next couple of weeks.
Yesterday I drove from Arusha (the regional capital) out into the "bush" as we call it here - about a 2 hour drive from Arusha. I arrived just in time to enjoy a delicious BBQ with the crew of a show on the Discovery Channel (I'm not supposed to say which one) who just completed filming an episode of the show here. They left last night and camp is now quiet and waiting for the students to arrive. I woke up to vervet monkeys dropping figs on my tent this morning and had a visit with a local Maasai family who lives near the camp and whom the students will visit.
I look forward to getting to know each of your students over the next few weeks and sharing some of this amazing place with them. I'll try to update at least every other day or so when the students arrive, even if it's just a short anecdote or a photo or two.
One week from today will find me on my way back to Tanzania and continuing preparations for this year's BIOL498A Biology of Eco-Health course. There are supplies to be purchased, arrangements to be finalized, and interviews to be arranged.
I will try to post periodic updates here every couple of days at the very least to keep you abreast of our latest activities and adventures.
Can hardly wait to meet this year's cohort at Kilimanjaro International as they disembark on May 21.
Safari njema wote! (Safe travels, all!)