Educational Tour Adventures
There were just seven of us – an instructor, five students, and a perfect safari vehicle, Delilah. On a Tanzania educational tour, we enjoyed the social-ecological relationships of Masaai pastoralists and their environment.
Every student from our group had spent the previous year designing our research project that ranged from problematic plants to pollinators and changing lifestyles. After we’d done all the preparations, we culminated our five week educational trip along the drylands of Northern Tanzania to collect data. It was really terrifying and exhilarating experience.
Our journey took 27 flights hours, three continents and four hours sleep to reach Tanzania. We spent first week in Arusha after getting the proper research permits, gear and other necessary accessories for a great educational tour experience.
Then, we drove for hours along the heart of Simanjiro District. Our first days in the village were spent by learning the culture, meeting village chairmen, and speaking with locals. Then we were back to the city fir a few days to resupply while making a quick stop at Tarangire National Park.
Our next two weeks involved in actual research. We traveled every day between the villages of Loliondo, Sukuro, Lobersoit, and Teraat. We conducted research on focus groups, vegetation transects, fetching water and drinking chai.
After that, we proceeded for final week of our educational tour. Our group had enjoyed road tripping adventure along the western coast of Tanzania, visited Arusha National Park, experienced swimming along the beaches of Panigani and watched the Tingatinga arists in Dar es Salaam. After enjoying reorganizing and decompressing for a few days, we boarded the plane for catching a flight back home.
The main aim of our educational tour was to understand more about the Maasai pastoralists and the interactions they had with the dryland ecosystems. We lived within the community and immersed in the culture. We took the opportunity to experience so much within the short time period in Tanzania.
We were taught how to milk and herd cows. Our group attempted to learn Maa and Swahili simultaneously while observing wildlife in their natural setting. We watched the daily routines of diverse lifestyles and heard the heartaches that plagued the local people. We sang and danced at parties as well as ate food of all varieties.
In addition to, we made lifelong friends – Sarah, Rumas and their children (our hosts), Logolie and Namnyak (our translators), Isaya and Sinjore (our research assistant), Joyce and Asiya (our caretakers), Elvis and Vitales (tour guides from El Mundo Safaris that designed our educational tour), Jonathan (our hotel clerk) and everyone else we met along the way. They are the ones that made our educational tour remarkably wonderful. Their hospitality, kindness, and the love that we get will never forget!
August 2, 2017