Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Another week has flown by in Africa!

Tuesday-Saturday we had classes, classes, classes. We are learning A LOT of Swahili and a lot about Tanzania policy. As well as different field study practices that can be used in ecological research.
Sunday we had a day off and went into the town of Mto Wa Mbu, which has a large market where we could buy souvenirs and jewelry. There were a lot of little shops and as you walk down the path in between them, the men working in the shops are all trying to welcome you to come into their shop instead of the one next door. I got to practice my bargaining skills as it is expected here that you don’t buy anything for the original price that they tell you. This can get really overwhelming, but it is exciting when you get something for the price that you are fighting for. Then we went to a pizza shop and got some yummy pizza!

That day, the power was shut off in the whole country of Tanzania because energy is supplied by a dam which is running low right now. So the government just randomly shuts the power off whenever it needs to be. What I thought was so surprising is that everything still runs smoothly when this happens and everyone is so used to this. If the power was shut off in Oregon for a day, people would be so mad! But here, it is totally normal.

Today we went on a safari at Tarangire National Park, which is over 2000 km2. There were sooo many animals here! We mainly saw elephants, zebras, wildebeests, impalas, giraffes and warthogs. Our car also got to see 4 lions that we needed binoculars just to see. Our driver, Nina, saw them sitting under a tree where we would never have seen them otherwise.  After the safari, we stopped at the lion research station where our program director, Dr. Kissui, has worked for almost 10 years studying the prides of lions in the national park.

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