Wednesday, we had the opportunity to interview two wildlife poachers from the local area! When we heard that we were interviewing poachers, we honestly couldn't believe it. We didn't understand how our wildlife program set up a way for us to speak with poachers, but they told us that they have been doing it for a few years now. Kind of crazy. We had a few hours of lecture in the field, and then the poachers came to meet us. We had a list of questions prepared. Here are 10/28 questions we asked the poachers. Although some of the answers don't directly match up to the questions. We wrote down how they answered each question. Just a sample of the questions.
Called criminals or thiefs/thugs when riding by on their motorcycles. Maasai
call them wildlife thieves.
you hunt individually or as a group?
Objective/motivation for poaching?
Quick money, employment, their source of income.
much money is made monthly/yearly?
Some people in the group either just want the meat, but some want to money.
Averages for Thompson's Gazelle is 30,000 (roughly $18), Wildebeest is 200,000
(roughly $121), and giraffe is 400,000 (roughly $242).
do you hunt with?
Snaring has become an outdated technique. They mostly chase animal while they
are on a motorcycle and spear it when they get close enough.
often do they hunt?
About every 3 days, but it is driven by the demand for the money. They don't
own homes. They only rent. Money goes quick.
Success rate is 3/5 outings. They are successful 40% of the time.
did they start?
One started hunting when he finished primary school (13-14 years ago).
common animals killed/poached?
Grant's gazelle, Thompson's gazelle (pretty small) but still poached, Impala,
Lesser Kudu. Most animals that like large grazing areas, because they are easy to
Zebras and wildebeest are most commonly killed in area, why weren't they
During day, they poach using motor bikes. Zebras and wildebeest are most
commonly killed in the day. At night, they park bikes and blind/daze animals
with lights, then attack. Impala, Grant's gazelle most commonly poached at
Later on, I finished up my olive baboon research paper, and turned it in.
Thursday, I did my laundry by hand for the first time (besides a few random things I've had to hand wash at home). This is different though. I used two buckets. One to wash and one to rinse. To save space in my luggage, I brought a toothbrush as my scrub brush, so the job was quite tedious. It isn't bad though. After I finished I hung them up to dry and went to lunch. In the afternoon, we had a few classes and then another field class. This time, we were going to the same pasture we did a scat survey near Lake Manyara to conduct a pasture grasses survey. We learned Couch grass (Cynodon dactylon), Odyssea jaegeri, Sporobolus spicatus, and Cyperus sp. and then began our survey. The grass was grazed over to ground level, because there are large groups of livestock and some wildlife that graze in this conservancy area. So, I thought it would've been hard identifying the grasses, but it got much easier as we went along. One group found the skull (with horns) of a Cape buffalo. Last time, I was in the pasture, I found the hoof of a zebra.
Friday, we had a pretty good and somewhat short day. We had a guest lecture in the morning from a local teacher. She was from the IRAWQ tribe. She taught us about education, daily activities in the life of an IRAQW person, and a woman's duties in a family. It seems crazy how much women have to do for a family and for herself. She taught us a few things and tried to help prepare us for our homestay that we will have next week! In the afternoon, we had another guest lecture from our program president who spoke about his work on the distribution of African lions. After these two great lectures, I did some homework in the morning, went for a run in the evening, finished laundry, relaxed outside until dinner, and finished season 2 of Game of Thrones to end my night.
Saturday, we woke up and ate breakfast and then some of went immediately to the community service project that we signed up for. I signed up to read books to children at a local orphanage. Others signed up for either construction on a pit toilet for the local school or Project Rhotia. I didn't have to leave until 9:30. I brought my "Bats" book along to read to the children. We got there at 10 and read with them until about 11:40. It went pretty quick, and it was a lot of fun. The two boys I read to were Danny and Jovita. Kiri, one of our SAMs told us that this was one of the best orphanages in the area. The owners are danish people from the Netherlands. They came to TZ and built a lodge and a children's home. They are essentially across from each other, but the lodge is more hidden. They pay for the kids in the orphanage to attend school. They also have a bakery where they make bread and sell it locally. These profits go towards the kids' school fees. They invited us to their lodge for coffee and tea.. I was all for it.. everyone was! So, we drove over afterwards and talked to them for about an hour. They have two dogs and cats at their tented lodge. They also showed us their garden. It was a very beautiful and relaxed place. We learned that most other orphanages in the area do take all donations for themselves and do not actually care for the children. This place was different. The people were good and the coffee was great! I am definitely going back. The coffee they had was from Gibb's Coffee Farm down the road, which we will be visiting sometime.. AND I CANNOT WAIT!
Coming back from the orphanage and lodge, I was very thoughtful. I was trying to brainstorm how I can make enough money to just continue traveling when I get home and after college is over. I think I'll still be trying to find jobs that are out of state, but I want to do more international travel. So many people here at SFS have traveled abroad, and this is only my first time! The main reason is due to money restraints, but I hope to continue traveling internationally from this point-on.
Sunday was a blast! It was our non-program day. In the morning, I made a batik at a batik artist's house/studio! For anyone who doesn't know what a batik is, it's a method of waxing different sections of cloth to add different colors. I made an elephant batik, and also bought a batik with Mt. Kilimanjaro in the background and silhouettes of trees and wildlife in the foreground. Around 1, we made our way into Karatu, where everyone was either at Happy Days Pub or Kudu Lodge. I spent about an hour at Happy Days Pub, and then went to Kudu Lodge to swim and hang out by the poolside bar. It was a perfect day to swim. The weather was hot and sunny. Kudu Lodge ended up being a great time. Before I left, I had a latte.. and it was amazing! I made some new friends, who happened to be the bartenders, but they were great. Very friendly! Overall, I don't think there was a person at Kudu Lodge who had a bad day. We were all very happy. When I got home, I hung out with everyone, and attempted to slackline. I ate dinner and then spent a lot of time laying in the hammock. Ended my night by having a good chat with a friend here, and then talking to my sister and niece. Excellent night!
Monday came too soon. Although, surprisingly classes didn't start until 10, I didn't really get a great nights sleep, because my back had been bothering me, and continued to bother me all day. Most of Monday was dedicated to our Environmental Policy class. We had to present a research article to the class. The research paper ended up being on grass--whoopie! The presentation went ok though, even though I wasn't feeling well, and would have rather been laying in bed.
Tuesday, we ended up having only one class, and it was Swahili. All we did was get together with a group, and create a script using our Swahili. My group and I made a script for at the market. Everyones' script was very funny, and we actually had a great time creating them! Since the rest of classes were cancelled for the day, I spent my day working on my research paper about giraffe foraging behavior. At 3, I went to the local school to meet the 5th grade class that my group and I would be teaching for an hour, once or twice a week. Well, that's at least what we thought.. we pretty much got thrown in the classroom, and were expected to have something for the class. Thankfully, we had a few back up plans. First, we played pictionary on the chalk board. The kids spoke english pretty well, and were also great spellers and drawers. Then, we read a book to the class of about 31 students. We sang 'head, shoulders, knees and toes' with the whole class. And then decided to break up the class into groups of 5 and read them books in individual groups. I had a pretty good group. The boys in my group knew english and even helped me read the book. I read two books to my group. One was "Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears" and "Clifford." They enjoyed both books. Now, I am wondering what we will teach them next time? Tonight, we celebrated another birthday, my banda mate's birthday, actually! We also gathered things like soap, flour, sugar, salt, vegetables, and vegetable oil. Tomorrow, we have our first home stay with an IRAQW family from 8 AM to 5 PM. I will fill you all in on how that goes next week! Hoping it goes well!