Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin

Noloholo, Day 31: Summer Camp Kickoff

My early morning is spent furiously binding the workbooks for summer camp and performing a last-minute cleaning of the office. We stayed up late last night, plagued by printer snafus, and all of us are underslept. The children – 20 of them, plus 4 scholars – arrive promptly at 8:30am, dressed to impress in their school uniforms. The kids are all in primary school (grade 6 or lower) and summer camp is their reward for having had the best grades on their exams, and best attendance at Wildlife Clubs. Kelly, Neo and Andrew have been preparing for weeks, and have created a wonderful line-up of games and activities to teach the children about concepts like predator and prey relationships, how bees make honey, and types of camouflage.

While we were binding, Andrew put on a playlist of music that included Old Crow Medicine Show’s song about North Carolina. I thought about all the times I’d heard that song and belted out the lyrics with my classmates at the Nicholas School. I missed Durham then, with a ferocity that startled me, and the thought that I would be going back (for short while, at least) after Africa was a great comfort to me.

The thick layer of clouds haunting us all day finally gives way to bright, hot sun in mid-afternoon. I spend the whole day in the office reading journal articles about wildlife-based tourism, trying to find information that I can use to build my financial model.

We have all our meals with the camp kids this week; lots of traditional Tanzanian food. Ugali, marage (beans), mboga (diced, stewed vegetables), rice, stew, makonde, etc etc. It’s fun to eat with them, especially the scholars who love to spend time with us and shyly practice their English with us. At night we show the NatGeo Lion Warriors film, make several tubs of popcorn and pass them around, and then have a little discussion with the kids afterwards. Christy also pulls up photos from the Noloholo camera traps to show a whole menagerie of critters meandering by: warthog, buffaloes plus buffalo baby, kudu, zebra, steenbok, dikdik and a gasp-eliciting leopard.

After the kids troop off for bed, Andrew, Kelly, Shayo, Neo and a couple of the staff stay and go over the agenda for tomorrow. It’s been a long day, but we’re excited for the next day..and for bed!

Tags: travel - tanzania
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