Why wouldn’t I go back?

“You can never go to a zoo again, can you?” Never. I heard this from quite a few people I shared my adventures with. Nothing will ever compare to seeing something new every day. I’m pretty sure there was not a day that went by that I did not hear about a new animal and the way it lives. It sure did help that Tommy was always shouting, “WHAT’S THAT BIRD??” every time he spotted a new one. It was baby season, and apparently mating season too. We were all excited once we saw everything from the big 5 (list created by hunters in the past that determined how difficult each animal was to hunt); the lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard. We were lucky enough to see one of the 20 rhinos that reside in Ngorogoro crater. We were lucky to see old, long tusked elephants. We were lucky to be involved with a safari company that speaks against poaching animals. We were lucky to have the opportunity to make a large effort of tree planting for Pratik Patel, to help get his elephant orphanage release site underway (which may be called ‘Ivory Orphans’). It was also great to support the tribes after they each graciously took time out of their lives to show us who they were and how they lived. I felt lucky to give back to a wonderful country that allowed us to explore itself for two weeks. I’ll never have the same opportunity again. That does not mean I won’t go back. It means, next time I go, I get to share what I know with those who join me. It means I have more room to explore and learn new things. I hoped to gain a ton of knowledge about my theme and topic, but I did not. Two weeks was not enough time. I know I can brainstorm and do further research for assisting my team for capstone. I saw how the Iraqw sit to make their own drums and train to throw a spear at incredibly long lengths. I awed at how the Maasai men jump to great heights and walk 10 miles just to get a bucket of water. I walked miles with the Hadzapi to hunt small prey. I observed the way the Datoga squat for hours, making small pieces of jewelry and art. Best of all, most of them danced for us. When we got the opportunity to dance with them, I could truly feel how they lived their daily lives. I may not be very good at swinging beads with the Maasai women, but I hope to be able to someday relate those movements to potential physical well-being. Also observation of living quarters gives me a good perspective on comparing comfort, mostly in sleeping (mattresses versus curved bed slots in the dirt). By looking into this more and hopefully returning one day, I can make more connections than ever before. Next time I hope I can take the information I have reflected on, along with the new knowledge I have gathered, and ask stimulating questions and provoke conversation about their habits of motion. I cannot wait to see how this applies to my capstone, and how I can then use questions that arise from my capstone to explore at a more advanced level. So, why wouldn’t I go back. I have every reason in the world to.

Tree planting at Kikoti camp for the future elephant orphan release site

Tree planting at Kikoti camp for the future elephant orphan release site

My favorite picture...a young male lion outside camp. We were extremely lucky to find this small pack!

My favorite picture…a young male lion outside camp. We were extremely lucky to find this small pack!

 

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