CFSIA Day 61: Lushoto

So posting again from Amboseli didn’t work out, and we were only in Arusha for two days, and then we unexpectedly didn’t have Internet for five or so days at Tarangire, but now here we are at Lushoto where the service is pretty good! Yay!

Tanzania has been fantastic so far. We left Amboseli on the 6th and crossed the border, then drove for a few hours to Arusha, stopping at a Nakumatt in Moshi on the way for a toiletries/snacks/supplies run. In Arusha we stayed at the Kilimanjaro Eco Lodge in the Usa River area, with a beautiful view of Mount Meru over our tents. For the next couple of days we had plenty of class time, mostly doing readings and working on assignments for Anthropology as we learned about land use issues and livelihood diversification in the region, and also had a context course lecture from the coordinator of the film unit for the Tanzania Natural Resource Forum.

On the 8th we drove for about five hours to get to our site in Simanjiro District right next to Tarangire National Park. The landscape became very dry and barren, with lots of thorny acacia trees. About twenty minutes away from camp, we were unable to get our big bus through a ravine, so we were all ferried the last stretch in the bed of a pickup truck. Over the next five days the bus lived where we left it, with some of our faithful Bunduz staff watching over it, and we did all our day trips in smaller vehicles.

Our hosts were a wonderful couple named Laly and Charles (and their adorable little daughter Kiki), who own and run Noloholo Environmental Center as a part of their NGO, the Tanzania People and Wildlife Fund. The camp was really nice, with really bright stars and nice views, but also very isolated, dry, and hot. I only took one shower while we were there and it was a bucket shower.

During our stay the Anthropology class visited a primary school in the closest village of Loibor Siret, as well as a couple of women’s groups at the homestead of a man with 12 wives and 110 children. One of the groups focused on beadwork (they even gifted us with jewelry), and the other had just started up a beekeeping initiative. The whole group hiked up a tall hill one morning, and on our last evening some of the local Maasai men performed traditional singing and dancing, in which we unskillfully and hilariously joined in. Laly also gave us a really interesting talk on the work of the Tanzania People and Wildlife Fund, especially on the work they do concerning big cat conservation. Unfortunately we weren’t able to actually enter the park, because Tanzania recently changed its laws to prohibit Kenyan vehicles (including our bus) from entering Tanzanian parks. It’s worth noting that the reverse was already true in Kenya, and it’s likely in place to prevent safari companies from one country taking tourists into the other country. Nonetheless, Tarangire was still really enjoyable.

Yesterday we left Noloholo at 5 am and drove roughly 11 hours to get here, Lushoto, in the Usambara Mountains. It’s so different from Tarangire- green, lush, and very cool. We’re staying at the Irente camp and I love it. There’s a gorgeous view of the mountains, a cafe that sells bulk tea and jam and other things as well as fresh coffee, smoothies, cheese, etc., a couple of fluffy white cats running around, and great cell/Internet reception. Today is our day off, which I have been using to do this as well as laundry, showering, working on our research project, journalling, doing readings for class, and a few other things. There are only 10 days left in the official program and I have so much to do! I’m not sure what field trips we’ll be doing while we’re here but I’ll be sure to post again as soon as I can.

I’ve been having camera issues so there won’t be any pictures right now. Hopefully I can add some in later 🙂 (edit: here they are below!)

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View of Kilimanjaro on our way to Amboseli.

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Elephant (and me) in Amboseli National Park.

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View from Observation Hill in Amboseli National Park.

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Sunset over Mt Meru in Arusha.

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Our tent city in Arusha.

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Sunset in Tarangire.

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The resident cat at Irente Farm in Lushoto.

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Anika, Irmak, and Andi at Lushoto market.

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Women performing traditional dance for us at Irente Farm.

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Irente Viewpoint.

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The chief and family members at the royal village of Kiembago.

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Sunset at Irente Viewpoint.

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Colourful grasshopper in Lushoto.

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Irente Viewpoint.

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Irente Viewpoint.

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