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.