Stories from the Field
Our Time with the Community of Maji ya Chai
July 7, 2016
We’re spending our first days in Tanzania in the community of Maji ya Chai and experiencing village life in Tanzania. On our first day, in preparation for our time in country, we talked about the difference between a traveler and a tourist. Travelers immerse themselves in the local culture. They try to learn the local language and eat local food. They respect local traditions and appreciate the surroundings. Tourists, however, tend to be invasive. They don’t take the time to learn the regional culture and they bring their own culture into the country they are visiting.
Hard-Working Hands Span Cultures and Generations to Come Together for Big Cat Conservation
December 4, 2014
The following post is from NGSE Tanzania expert Laly Lichtenfeld’s team member Deirdre Leowinata about what it was like to work with our NGSE students last summer and was originally posted to National Geographic’s Cat Watch blog.
Education is the foundation for positive change, and every year National Geographic Student Expeditions takes groups of high school students from around the world to beautiful places on quests for both knowledge and skills. The trips also serve as a way to help various developing communities, and this year two groups of students made a big impact on the Maasai Steppe. Not only did they construct fences that would save livestock, lions, and livelihoods, but the teamwork and compassion displayed on those hot afternoons lit a spark that gives hope to a brighter future.
Student Campaigns for Tanzanian Wildlife
August 11, 2014
Yesterday afternoon marked the end of our time spent on safari and our exploration of the wilds of Northern Tanzania. Over the past eight days, we’ve had the privilege of watching baby elephants chase each other around trees, endangered black rhinos mate, baboons groom each other, impala prance through the bush, and a leopard cub play with its mother along a fallen log. We’ve also enjoyed the hues of African sunsets, sat under dozens of shooting stars, and danced with Massai Warriors. Since our arrival back in Arusha, we’ve managed to clean ourselves of the dirt and dust of safari, but our appreciation for the cultures and wildlife of Tanzania remains.
A Week in the Bush!
May 6, 2014
Jambo! We are currently at the UAACC (United African Alliance Community Center) after an incredible, breathtaking week in the bush. Here’s a brief breakdown of our time over the past week!
Days One–Three: The Maasai Steppe
After driving down scenic roads lined with sunflowers and secluded villages in our open safari vehicles, we reached our first campsite in the Maasai Steppe. We were surprised to see tents already assembled and a campfire with chairs for each of us arranged around it. As soon as we got situated, Maggie (our amazing guide) led us to the nearby Maasai boma, a small village with homes of the nomadic tribe, protected by a fence to keep wildlife out at night. We were greeted with open arms by the Maasai, and immediately felt at home as they guided us through their community. We had the unique opportunity to speak with Maasai elders who had invited us into their homes, and learn about their culture and traditions. We also got to hold baby goats and attempt to milk cows! It was such an incredible day with lots of “firsts” for all of us on the trip!