On one of our last nights in Tanzania, Professor Kerr read us a quote from Green Hills of Africa by Hemingway. “All I wanted to do was get back to Africa. We had not left it, yet, but when I would wake in the night I would lie, listening, homesick for it already.”
When Kerr read us that quote, I could tell we all knew and felt what Hemingway was talking about. I fell in love with Tanzania. It’s nothing less than magical. The people are warm and spirited. The animals are cultured, mysterious, and majestic. The land is fierce and breathtaking. Tanzania drew me in and entranced me with its wild and full heart. Everywhere I visited I could feel a quiet presence of history, the history of humans. I knew this trip would change me, but I never could have expected the impact it had.
Days before I left Tanzania I was already planning how I’d get back. It was ridiculous– I was there! I couldn’t get enough, and I’m not sure I ever will. As of now, I’m hoping to return in a few years after I give my bank account time to recover. We had the amazing opportunity to spend time with a mover and shaker named Pratik Patel who runs the African Wildlife Trust as well as a safari company and several lodges in Tanzania. He is extremely passionate in his anti-poaching mission and asked us to help. That was part of our tree-planting project. He wants us to continue helping and I would love to do so. I’m hoping that will be my next ticket to Tanzania. I’d love to spend a summer or a semester volunteering for Pratik. In addition to his conservation work, he also is working to start a traveling screening clinic for women to test for cervical and breast cancer, which is a growing problem. It would be a dream come true to help out with that project. As I said, I’m clearly already trying to get back! It’s been difficult to be back in the U.S. Things here seem overly complicated and wasteful. I love Missoula, I have lived here my whole life, but there’s nothing like traveling, and nothing like Tanzania. I’m all about having roots and wings and I hope to grow both of those evermore!