University of Wisconsin–Madison

Afrika: Mwanzo Mpya 8

Sunday, July 5th

‘Murica in Tanzania 

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These past couple of days have been kind of crazy here in Rhotia. After we got back from the Serengeti on Tuesday, we had lots of preparing to do. First, we spent Wednesday as a relaxing day. We had the option to go to this resort down the road for some swimming, resting and just getting ourselves back together after our 4 day expedition. This resort was beautiful. It was right on the edge of the rift and had a beautiful view of Lake Manyara. It even had an infinity pool and bar that we could hit up. Man, that pina colada was well deserved after this month. However, it was pretty sad that as soon as you step outside of this 5-star resort, you are surrounded by poverty. It is pretty sickening that most people vacationing here turn a blind eye to it. 20150701_131518[1]

On Thursday, we started out with an exam review then had the rest of the day to ourselves. I am the head of the yearbook committee, so I spent my day compiling pictures from all of the students into a video slideshow. I had so much fun, and I love doing stuff like this. It was a nice way to spend the day. We also played some cards, and I even got to take a nap and do some Zumba. Friday was pretty lax too. I spent most of the day studying for our final exam the next day. We had to know 7 local birds and their distinguishing features, the ins and outs of wildlife management areas as well as focus group research, conservation policy and our traveling lecture material. Saturday (4th of July!), we took our exam at 8am and all finished relatively quickly. I’m feeling pretty good about it! After that, most of us went to Mto wa Mbu and went on a hike to a waterfall! It was a crazy hike of scaling rocks, jumping rivers and avoiding thorny bushes. It was exhausting, horrifying and beautiful all at the same time- but so worth it.

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After that, some friends and I went to a pizza place in Mto wa Mbu, then to the Maasai market to do some final shopping. By the time we got home at 6pm, we were so exhausted. However, the celebrations were only beginning! To celebrate Independence Day, we got to have burgers, ice cream and free soda (which is a huge change from our usual dinners of hot tea, rice, beans and bread). We sang some ‘murica songs and cheered, someone even brought a towel with a flag and eagle on it that we waved. The Tanzanians even joined in on the fun and had a good chuckle. We finished off the night watching the video I made and then had smores! This was a huge deal because they don’t have marshmallows in Tanzania! Weeks ago, when a professor went home to Nairobi, Kenya for the weekend, he had to pick some up for us! It was nice to have a sweet snack and chill around the fire. It was a beautiful 4th of July in Tanzania. This morning, we got to sleep in until 8am, had breakfast and have the day to ourselves. I helped unload a truck of books for the library, and later today a group of us are going to the local primary school to paint a new bathroom they just built. It’s weird to think that academics are over and in 2 days I will be leaving camp and heading to Zanzibar! Man, how time flies. But for now, it’s lunch time and then we’re going to play volleyball. Talk to you all soon!

Love,

Amanda

11:58am