To try to sum up my trip thus far in a single blog post is rather challenging. I’ve only been in Tanzania for 2 weeks and I couldn’t be having a better adventure. The pace of life is much slower out here; people actually take time to greet one another as they pass by each other on the street, a pre-determined meeting time ends up being much later than expected, and there is never a stressful rush to get somewhere. Coming from the USA, this is quite a change from the normal hustle and bustle of daily life.
It’s hard to imagine life without TV, satellite radio, or constant texting, and yet, here in Tungamalenga Village, I don’t miss it at all. When the other volunteers and I aren’t walking the elephant corridors or going on trips to Ruaha National Park, we get the luxury of playing card games, bird-watching, or just reading a good book (in my case, a trashy, romance novel). Rather than falling asleep to cars passing by, we get to listen to the bushbabies and vervet monkeys calling in the acacia trees above our tents—I say “get to” lightly, as the noises are quite loud. Still, it’s hard to come to grips with the fact that at some point I’ll have to go back to States and leave this incredible place.
For many of us at Chogela Camp, the life of fieldwork in Tanzania is a dream. Not only are we surrounded by a beautiful countryside, complete with breathtaking views, we also have the pleasure of working with a group of very hard-working Tanzanians who have dedicated their lives to conserving wildlife. The Wildlife Connection-ers open their homes to us—feeding us massive amounts of home-cooked meals, introducing us to their families, and welcoming us into their culture. With such a strong core of volunteer and employees, I know this project has a bright future and will always have a place in my heart.
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