Sunday, November 16, I didn’t do a whole lot. I relaxed most of the morning and watched Easy A. Our advisor/professor met with us at 2 PM, after he went to church, to begin the data analysis process.. or something like that. We met in his office to turn in our original data sheet from the field and copies. We also went over our objectives. This was the beginning of the next few important and VERY NERVE WRECKING steps of our research. I found the most joy in collecting the data.. Obviously, because we were in the Ngorongoro Crater. It was fun too, though once we got to know what we were doing!
Monday, November 17, I watched Perks of Being a Wallflower for the first time, which I realized was set in Pittsburgh. They also talk about Penn State and the Ye Old Old Diner sticky buns! Anyways, we met again with our advisor, Shem, at to go over some statistics for our analysis. It was helpful but I was still so lost!
Tuesday, November 18, our group met again to learn how to conduct statistical analysis such as how to do regressions, correlations and t-tests. I get it, but I don’t get it. I don’t understand when and where to do each of these tests. I was MOD, so we played a game called Celebrity, but used the name of fellow SFS students for the people to guess. Like a guess who kind of game. People liked it though.
Wednesday, November 19, I organized some of my data and attempted to run normality tests. Still confused but I’m trying. Other that that, I relaxed a little. The MOD made nutella and peanut butter fudge… it was ABSOLUTELY amazing!
Thursday, November 20, I conducted more data organization and ran a few insignificant normality tests on my data. In the evening, I played human Foosball on the soccer field for the first time, and then afterwards, I played soccer with everyone.
Friday, November 21.. I…….you guessed it.. I organized more data! Finally, I tried conducting normality tests and correlations in the evening, hoping that something would come out significant! I still need to interpret the values. In the evening before dinner, I stopped doing data analysis for a bit, because I was in need of a break. I went out and played a round of volleyball with everyone, and also watched a little. It was fun, and helped get some stuff off my mind.
Saturday, November 22 I continued to work on my paper!
Sunday, November 23, I don’t even remember what I did besides play volleyball, worked on my paper and stayed up late.
Monday, November 24.. literally worked on my paper all day.
Tuesday, November 25 was one of our non-program days. I spent my day in Karatu. First, we went to Carnivore, a local bar and restaurant with unbelievably cheap drinks! We relaxed there for a while and left around 2 to go to the large monthly Karatu Market. There, I was looking to buy some fabric but had no luck finding anything I like; however, I did buy three scarves. I also bought some tire shoes (rubber flip flops). On my way out, I found some cute baby chickens and got to hold them. Right before we left, we even got some ice cream! We went to the roof top bar and had some drinks then went off to Happy Days to complete our day. There, I had some delicious french fries! When we got back to camp, my friends and I laid on the grass and looked up at the sky. We then realized that there’s a pretty good chance of getting jiggers, so we moved to laying on the picnic tables. It was a nice evening.
Wednesday, November 26, I had cook crew at 6:30 AM. After breakfast, I went back to my banda and played on the internet a little bit, and then napped from 9-12, when I ate lunch. I worked on my paper until dinner time. After dinner, Katrina and I cooked two pumpkin pies for the next day (Thanksgiving).
Thursday, November 27 was Thanksgiving!! I worked on my paper most of the day until 5, when I decided to join the others in a football game at the soccer fields. It was a lot of fun, and I hadn’t played football for years, although, I’ve watched it. After football, I came back and showered and got dressed up for dinner. We all took some pictures and proceeded to dinner around 6:30. The dining hall was slightly decorated with “Happy Thanksgiving” written on paper and hung upon the wall. In addition, some really pretty table pieces were made from toilet paper rolls and leaves/flowers. They were really nice! Dinner was massive. Turkey, sheep, mashed potatoes, yams, stuffing, quiche, corn on the cob, and more! The turkey was so juicy and delicious. Afterwards, for desert there was pumpkin pie (ours :)), apple crumble, apple pie, fruit salad, and cookie dough balls. Overall, we had a great Thanksgiving here!
Friday, November 28, our final paper was due. Shem’s group got an extension, so I did not have to stay up all night to work on it. I stopped working around 11. I only had the discussion left to complete anyways.
Saturday, November 29, we had a Q&A session with Dr. Shem about our individual projects. I was pretty nervous, but he Q&A turned out ok. I then completed my discussion and organized my data to turn in. I relaxed the rest of the day with ease. Even cleaned off my desk for the first time in a month and watched a movie.
Sunday, November 30, we ate breakfast at 9 AM and left for the Mto wa Mbu waterfall hike by 9:30. The hike was absolutely beautiful. There was no actual path to follow. We kind of just weaved our way through the banana plantation and up the rocks that led to the waterfall. Mud was immediately caked onto the bottom of my shoes, so it made climbing across rocks a litltle slippery. On our way in, we could see the waterfall flowing over the escarpment from a distance. It was beautiful. Once we got to the waterfall, I put my camera down and climbed across the rocks to stand underneath of it. The water was cold, but felt good after the humid walk up the river of rocks. We saw a few crabs in the water. We moved up higher on the rocks to stand underneath the waterfall and the water hit you hard at this point, but we all had a great time. Once most people were done at the lower part of the waterfall, we took some paths up the side and climbed up some rocks to reach the point above the waterfall. The overlook was beautiful. I didn’t take my camera with me, so I never got a shot of the overlook, but seeing it was enough of an amazing moment. We climbed across some more rocks and took some pictures with other people’s cameras. Then I sat down and just watched over the landscape. The way down was the same path, but much easier than I had thought it would be to go down. After the hike, we went to Karatu to finish our non-program day up. I went to Milanos to have my first experience (other than at camp) eating nyama choma (grilled meat) and chipsi mayai (french fries in eggs). It was delicious. They served the grilled beef with a side of juice from a chili pepper and salt. The chipsi mayai was served like an omlet. It’s different eating out here, because they serve it all on one tray and you get no plates. You share the entire meal from one plate with your groups. They always bring a pitcher of water and a bowl to catch the water to the table so that you can wash your hands. They walk around to each person and pour water over their hands. It’s all a unique experience.
Monday, December 1, together with my DR group, we worked on our presentation and then presented it to Shem. He was quite interesting this morning. He was his normal self, only with a little added feistiness. When he asked us what percent cover constitutes and invasive plant, no one knew. And he told us that he needed to get a cane so he could “cane” us. It was actually hilarious, because he’s a hysterical older guy, but he never says anything like that. Of course, he was joking. In addition, he claimed to be a tad upset that he didn’t have Tuesday off (tomorrow), and told us that he planned on getting soaked. So, we left that up for interpretation, but he is a great guy. And literally knows how to make us laugh without even trying very hard. I’m going to miss him very much. He’s like a father to us all. When he goes on leave, he always comes back with a smile on his face and tells us how much he missed us all. He really loves what he does, and SFS will be losing a great guy when he goes back to his original university in Kenya to teach there again.
Tuesday, December 2, all groups presented their presentations to the faculty and students in the morning. The NCA (my group) were the first ones to present. It went fairly smooth actually. Afterwards, I went and found the 2 kittens and their mom that we have running around here on campus. I call the mother cat, Lady. She’s small for a mother and this has to be her first litter of kittens. I was surprised to see that they are actually healthy looking, at least. She’s kind of skinny, but is very friendly towards us. Some people feed her, while they shouldn’t because I don’t think the staff will be tending to her like we do. However, she does well on her own too, she is a feral cat though. One kitten is striped like their mother and the other is mostly white with black patches on its body and nose. The kittens mostly avoid the people, they are kind of skittish. Lady is funny though, because when you approach her, she looks somewhat vicious and with meow very loudly with her mouth wide and teeth out, but when you show her that you want to pet her, she’ll come right over to you and rub up against you and purr. She’s really sweet.
Location: Rhotia, TZ