These past two weeks I’ve been in the Serengeti and volunteering in Rothia. We spent a couple of hours collecting trash in town, fixing the local school and helping at the local nursery.
Some children and elders joined us to pick up trash or congratulate us. I had fun walking around town picking up plastic and it felt great to help the community! However, Tanzania does not have recycling facilities in villages and small towns, so I felt sad that we had to burn everything we collected.
We also visited a Maasai boma to learn about their architecture and daily activities. I got to create my own Maasai bracelet and received a Maasai name by one of the leaders of the village, ‘Nashipai’ or “happiness”.
We visited for last time Serengeti National Park and it was awesome! Each day was a different experience, a different sight, a different scenario. We got to see a cheetah full speed chasing a Thomson’s gazelle, lions eating their kills and fighting hyenas and more.
We learned about carnivore behavior towards tourist that surround them. Sometimes there were up to 30 cars in one sighting and this represented a challenge to carnivores in their activities.
I remember that some cars had children that were screaming while a young lioness was stalking a gazelle and felt sad for the lioness because its prey got spooked by noise. However, tourism pays the research and conservation efforts done in the park, so it is a necessary evil.
Also, some of us had the chance to go birding. It was great to put a name to all the birds that I’ve seen throughout my expeditions. My favorite was the lilac-breasted roller because it amazed me the change of colors while flighting.
I felt nostalgic takin the final exam because it was the end of my academic experience in Tanzania. Nevertheless, I have grown and learned a lot from this adventure. I’ve met wonderful people, professors and professionals and expand my connections to Kenya. I am looking forward to coming back to mamma Africa one day.