Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesday 9/15

So you can scroll down to see more pictures of my life here in AFRICA!! (sorry, it still makes me really happy to say that!) The past few days (and the upcoming days) aren’t too exciting as we have a lot of regular class time scheduled. Yesterday was pretty neat though, for our Swahili and Environmental Policy classes we went to a local “boma” (village) to observe one of the local tribes in the area called the Maasai. Our instructions for this class were to determine if the heavy flow of tourism to this road-side attraction has been causing these Maasai people to lose their culture. It was interesting to critically analyze something that I might have not thought twice about. The children there were sooooo cute and they knew exactly how to shmooze up to us tourists; I took about a million pictures of them.
Other classes have been fun too, in case I haven’t previously explained them to any of you before I will do so now. We are taking four different classes; Wildlife Management (WM), Wildlife Ecology (WE), Environmental Policy (EP), and Swahili and Social Culture (SSC). We have two different professors for SSC, one for the Swahili Language and the other for the Social Culture. My favorite as of now is Wildlife Management, basically because it’s so cool and very different from any course I’ve ever taken, but very catered to my interests. This is also the class we go to National Parks for, so duh, it’s awesome! We get about 40 pages of assigned reading for each course every day we have it, but usually only have three courses per day (each for about 2 hours). We do have a few homework assignments, for example a 3 page essay on our visit to the Maasai boma yesterday is due next Monday, but overall we just have a lot of reading to do.
So those are our classes, and in case I haven’t explained to you our average day (sorry, I’m such a bad blogger!) I will do that now too. I wake up around 7:00 usually and mosey around until breakfast which is at 7:30. Sometimes you have to wake up earlier like if you want to go on a professor-lead nature walk or if you are breakfast crew (breakfast crew just means you help the cooks make toast, pancakes, fruit salad, eggs, potatoes, and oatmeal and then clean pots and pans after dinner that night). First class starts at 8:00 and goes to 10:00 and then we have a little break until our next class from 10:30-11:30/12:00. Lunch is around 12:30 and is usually soup, veggies like green beans and carrots, rice, rolls, fruit salad, and some sort of pasta. We then have free time which can be used to do some reading or work or to play some sort of sport like soccer or volleyball (which is usually what I do) until our next class at 2:00. This class goes until 4:00 and we sometimes have another after that from 4:30-5:30, but some days we are done for the day at 4:00. We then have free time until dinner which is around 7:30 and then we have a thing called RAP. RAP is lead by the MOD (mwanafunzi [student] of the day) and we all take turns being MOD. It’s alphabetical, so I will be MOD towards the end of the rotation. Usually the MOD reflects about something that they found interesting or reads a quote or poem that they were reminded of and then organizes a group game to play. After that, it’s usually around 8:30/9:00 and we have the rest of the night to socialize or do readings until bedtime. Because we’ve been getting up early, I’ve been trying to go to bed early (like around 10:30/11:00) but some nights tend to be later. For example last night I learnt how to make our shower water HOT and had a great time taking my SECOND shower of the semester, I even shaved my legs so it was a completely productive event.
As you can see it’s pretty busy even during weeks that we don’t have many out-of-camp events scheduled. I was happy to have some free time today; but unfortunately it came at the cost of skipping out on an optional field trip. About half of our group went to an Iraqwi (I’m unsure about the spelling… but it’s not the same as Iraq) boma to learn about the dominant culture in this part of Tanzania. But I was fine to stay back at camp with the rest of the group and catch up on some reading and social networking (of course I’m saying that like a complete nerd in my head).
On a side note, I have very little phone credit left and am being cheap and don’t feel like buying anymore so if you’ve been wondering why I haven’t called that’s why. But I think Mom found out that it’s only 26 cents a minute to call me through Skype so feel free to give me a call!
But yeaaaa, I think that’s about it. Sorry if I actually end up posting this tomorrow, because the internet is being shoddy and it’s not letting me upload pictures, so next time it lets me do that I will post it. Also don’t get mad at me if I don’t respond immediately or finish a conversation on facebook… again due to the same sketchy internet situation. The End.

Xoxoxo Z

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