Well fieldwork is officially over and it's been a tiring week of interviewing people and asking our questionnaire. I felt like a broken record asking the same questions over and over again. It was really fun to talk to people, but I'm glad to be done with that questionnaire. On the last few days of fieldwork I got to explore Karatu a lot and eat lunch at the Artz Gallery for three straight days in a row. I've discovered that they have the absolute best oatmeal cookies ever made. On the last day of field work I pretty much just went around to fancy lodges and got to live a day in the life of an extremely wealthy tourist. In the morning I went to interview people at the most amazing lodge I've ever seen. It was like one big garden in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by hills and tropical palms and flowers. It wasn't overly fancy, but it was breathtakingly beautiful. If I ever came back to East Africa I would make sure to stay at this lodge. The lodge served us watermelon juice and gave us hot towels when we walked through the door (fancy huh?), I felt like I had entered a dream. We got to tour the entire lodge and see the rooms, which had outdoor private showers that overlooked the gardens and landscape of the area. We also got to sit down and enjoy the complementary coffee and cookies. I felt like such a freeloader haha We went to interview a few people and ended up staying for an hour or so, drinking coffee and enjoying the magnificent views of the lodge. After that, we went and ate lunch at the Artz Gallery and got some of my fav oatmeal cookies which are SO addicting. Then we went to the Lake Manyara Serena lodge, interviewed a couple people, and relaxed of the deck drinking iced cappuccinos. It was a great way to end our fieldwork.
Backtracking a little to Thanksgiving, I was bummed to be missing all the yummy food, but we had our own African thanksgiving celebration. A lot of students spent the day in the kitchen making mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey, and other classic thanksgiving dishes. We even got to get lettuce and cheese! It was such a good dinner! Some people even put up decorations. Earlier in the day we went into Mto Wa Mbu and had painting lessons. We got to see some artists do the knife paintings that are sold everywhere here. The artists did a beautiful painting in less than five minutes, it was really interesting to watch. After he showed us how to knife paint we got to paint our own pictures. Mine was, of course, the best. It kind of looked like a three year old painted it in the dark haha. It was really fun though. I also did a little more shopping in the Maasai Market in town. I feel like I know Mto Wa Mbu like the back of my hand and I recognize all the people i've talked to from the street vendors to the duka's owners.
Now a few random occurrences to note: Over the past couple days I have heard the most ungodly screeches, coming from our neighbors pigs. I recently found out that one of our neighbors likes to have pig roasts often, so I can hear death screams coming from pigs on a regular basis and it is so disturbing. The pigs squeal for so long I feel sick to my stomach. Another not so pleasant thing to report- I recently saw a baby black mamba on my porch. The baby snakes look EXACTLY like worms, except they have a very distinct slithering motion unlike worms. A few girls actually picked it up because they thought it was a weird looking worm! Fun fact: baby black mombas are even more dangerous than adult black mombas because they don't know how to properly use their venom, so they often bite and release more venom than adults.
This past week has been full of data analysis, SO BORING. I spent some time making graphs and what not out of the data gathered from our questionnaire. It hasn't been to eventful. I started writing my research paper, which is harder than I expected. It has to be written scientifically, which I am the worst at. Writing scientifically means I can't write with opinions, descriptions, or observations, only the facts (zzzzzzzzzz). I am starting to get tiered of the science world and their silly way of writing and looking at everything, it's got no spice. Yesterday was spent finishing up my research paper draft and turning it in, at the moment it's around 18 pages of pure data analysis and dry facts. This whole week i've been cooped up at camp working on this paper, but I finally got to take a break and leave the fence. We had a shopping day in Mto Wa Mbu and than visited the Watoto Care Orphanage again. Those kids have endless supplies of energy. Being at camp all day long everyday makes the time go by so slow.... however, I can't believe I've already spent 3 months here in East Africa. Only a week left at Moyo Hill camp and three days of plane flights and i'll be home, not like I'm counting or anything. I love it here in Tanzania, but I'm ready to be back in Michigan with cold weather! It's been SO hot these past days, yesterday it got up to 87 degrees, wayyy to hot. I'm a total winter person, I need some snow in my life. It's gonna be really sad to leave though, this experience has shown me a whole other part of the world and a different way of life from my own that is endlessly fascinating and wonderful.