One last post to let any inquiring minds know that we all made it safely on to the flight and are en route to Amsterdam and then home!
We said goodbye to Anna Estes, one of the instructors, this morning as she drives to Amboseli National Park in Kenya. The rest of us headed into town this morning to finish up shopping for gifts and have lunch before returning to the guesthouse to pack our bags and head to Kilimanjaro International Airport where this adventure began almost three weeks ago. In six hours, we will all be winging our way back home.
We all have lots of stories. It's been an intense few weeks with lots of stretching new experiences. Please be patient with us as we gush about how these experiences have changed us. Be sure to ask lots of questions and I'm sure you'll find that it will be hard to get most of us to stop talking!
Penn State partners with the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology in Tanzania on a number of different initiatives. It was the development of this partnership that inspired Dr. Cavener to develop the Biology of Eco-Health course that we are all now involved in. This morning we made a visit to the NM-AIST to give students an opportunity to see the facilities here and take a tour of the biotechnology labs as well.
Apologies for the days long lapse in posting. Internet connectivity has been patchy up in the Ngorongoro Highlands the past days. We have had a great time visiting an orphan village, a medical clinic, and the Ngorongoro Crater, and we're now on our way back to Arusha, were we'll stay until we depart on the day after tomorrow.
Everyone is in good health and spirits as we finish up the course in the next couple of days and head home to our friends and families.
Had a full day. Climbed the mountain near where we are camped this morning. It was a major undertaking and everyone participated in spite of the fairly rigorous nature of the climb. From the top you can see for miles in every direction, since we are surrounded by plains. Our sharp-eyed guides spotted greater kudu, eland, and giraffe far below us.
After returning to camp, our Maasai hosts butchered a goat and roasted the meat around the campfire. Some of the students tried it an we spent several hours around the campfire in the evening asking about issues of ecology, livelihoods, and rural health. During this conversation, we heard both our first hyena whoops from afar as well as the first bellows of a Cape buffalo.
We break camp first thing in the morning tomorrow to head west, where Tarangire National Park abe more adventures await.
Dorobo Safaris picked us up this morning in Arusha and we left the long lines of traffic behind for the wilds of the Maasai Steppe, an area of plains in north central Tanzania important for wildlife, agriculture, and cattle. We had a wonderful picnic lunch on the plains, watching male wildebeest competing for females, before continuing on to our camp for the night on a rock kopje at the base of Oldonyo Sambu, which means 'striped mountain' in kimaa, the language of the Maasai people. While we all are sleeping in pup tents tonight, we have many of the comforts of home thanks to Dorobo. We are getting up early tomorrow morning to climb the mountain.
Everyone is doing well and going to bed with full stomachs after a wonderful beef curry for dinner with apple crisp for dessert.
We are out in quite a remote area at the moment, so those of you who have been hearing from your students regularly up until now, please know that everyone is well and in good spirits. I am only able to post this because I have a local phone, and then only by holding the phone in just the right place in the middle of my tent to get a few scant bars of service. I'll try to add a brief update tomorrow night as well if possible!