As a junior in college, I spent 9 months in East Africa studying wildlife conservation and East African affairs. It was an amazing experience to say the least. We spent weeks out in the field counting elephants, we slept in Maasai mud hut bomas, we hunted and gathered with a hunter and gatherer tribe, we tracked cheetahs through the bush, we saw prides of lions hunt and kill… and so much more. Before I even landed in Kenya, I knew that I wanted to stay in Africa for a full school year so I enrolled in two different programs. The first semester was through St. Lawrence University (my alma mater) and the second semester was through the School for Field Studies. Below are a few photos and anecdotes about my School for Field Studies expereince. See my St. Lawrence post here!
LIFE AT THE KILIMANJARO BUSH CAMP
Our home base was located on the Kenyan/Tanzanian border just at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Like the St. Lawrence program, there was a main lodge where we had classes, cooked and ate meals together, hung out, etc… But unlike the St. Lawrence program, our accommodations were small bandas, or one-room huts that slept 4 people. We also had a volleyball court and a running path around the compound.
Just like the St. Lawrence program, I saw a TON of wildlife during the School for Field Studies semester. Looking for and watching wildlife for hours never got old 🙂
Again, we spent a lot of time with the Maasai. All of our askaris, or guards, were Maasai and we were even invited to a traditional Maasai wedding where the men and women dressed up in the their ceremonial regalia.
OUT IN THE FIELD
As the name (School for Field Studies) suggests, we spent the majority of our days out in the field. We counted elephants, measured all sorts of things including tree scars, talked with local communities about land use issues, got our land rovers stuck, etc… there was never a dull or boring moment!