Tuesday, October 9, 2012

On top of the world!

Except for the many misquito bites spotting my skin, there really is nothing I can complain about here. It is sunny and getting warmer every day 

On Wednesday we had a travelling lecture on top of Kilimatembo (Elephant Mountain) and we got a short lecture from each of our classes. The view from on top of this hill was incredible! Even though it is called Kilimatembo, unfortunately there are no longer any elephants on the hill. Then we went to an acacia forest and just got to walk around and explore the area. We got to see one of the “small five” animals, a lion ant which is a little bug that digs holes in the dirt to catch ants and eat them.
Thursday we had wildlife ecology and Swahili class throughout the day.  Then there was an assignment due for environmental policy in the evening.
Then we went to Ngorongoro Crater on Friday and we got to go on a safari without an assignment to do at the same time! We just sat for a short lecture by one of the men working at Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Here we saw more zebras and wildebeest. We also saw cape buffalo, ostriches, reed bucks, gold crested cranes, ververts, a rhino and lions. At the beginning there was a reed buck giving birth really close to the road. A lot of tourists were stopped in front of it so all we saw was the baby after it was born. I was really excited to see a rhino even though it was lying down and super far way. Then the lions were awesome! One of them was so close to the road and she was so pretty!

On Saturday we went bird watching in the forest area of Rhotia. We saw a lot of birds and then stopped on the cliff to see an amazing view of the whole valley. It was mainly open landscape and farms. It is still so different to see such a large space of land without a huge city in the middle of it. I felt like I was on top of the world up on this cliff. I have come to realize that some things like this view can not be described with words or even a picture. A person has to experience it for themselves to get the full idea about how beautiful Africa is.

The next day we had another non-program day which we spent going to markets in Karatu and Mto Wa Mbu (misquito river). Here we just got some trinkets from the stores and did some bargaining for them. There was this wood shop that we went to at Mto Wa where the men make the wood carvings (animals and bowls and other stuff) made out of rosewood and ebony by hand with just chisels and knife. We also got to go to a monthly market in Karatu which was so energetic! It is a local market with thousands of people trying to buy and sell various clothing, food, and other items that lay on tarps on the ground.
Monday we had another travelling lecture to Mto Wa Mbu. We learned about the farming practices of people in the town and how they interact with wildlife. Also that there are just 3 perrenial rivers in the area that flow into Lake Manyara which causes people and wildlife to cram into the area. This becomes a problem as populations continue to grow.
All in all it was a good week and great way to end the first month that I have spent in Tanzania.

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