Monday, April 2, 2012

Amboseli, iPods, and Maasai Rain

Today we will be spending the day in Amboseli.  This will be our last trek into a National Park, because as of this Saturday we have our final-final exams, and then we start our Directed Research Project.  The DR comprises the bulk of the reasoning behind the creation of this program SFS, and will consist of:
  • 8 days of data collecting in the field.
  • 4 days data analysis
  • 3 days for write-up (minimum 20 pgs)
  • 3 days for presentation to staff, group, and community figures.
After this, I will find myself with three days left in Kenya for debriefing, and then I depart for home.  This list seems long on a scheduled paper, but after putting it into a bulleted numerical list, it seems very short.  Finishing our last expedition, homestay, and now trips to the parks is bittersweet, as I know it will likely be a long time until I am able to visit East Africa again.
   However, on a brighter side of this fleeting post, Amboseli is world-renowned for their elephants, and these elephants are the most documented and highly studied in the world... oh, and we were told that there were 117 new baby elephants!
   Another note-worthy occurrence: last night was the first full night of rain in the Kimana area since December, and the Maasai rejoiced!  We awoke to a soft wet ground spread across our compound, and I felt a shimmering joy race through my body.  It is quite an experience to know that the smile absently fixed to your face is one in reaction to the rains, which are so important to the people here.  I've never felt so apart of this place until I found myself grinning at the prospects of a fresh start for the local farmers, as well as the people who need the water for their animals and their own livelihood.

   Life here in Kimana, at the base of Kilimanjaro, in Kenya of East Africa, is sparkling in the rain-covered grasses.
My mama at the homestay watching me cut cabbage.
One-week old calf wants some attention from "Mama"

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