The field school run by the Kesho Trust and the University of Victoria recently wrapped up in Arusha after almost a month of awe inspiring travel and study. Nineteen students led by Dr. Phil Dearden, Dr. Bruce Downie and Teaching Assistant, Emmanuel ole Kileli began their studies in Dar es Salaam. They stayed in local accommodation ate local food and immersed themselves in the culture and experience of Tanzania.
Two major areas of focus were Saadani National Park and the Enguserosambu community forest lands – the traditional homeland of the Loita Maasai. In the Saadani area the students stayed at the Kihembe Environmental Learning Centre in Mkange village and explored both the park area [including the Wami River and Indian Ocean] and the local villages of Mkange and Saadani.
In Enguserosambu Ward the group stayed at Almatasia Camp – an initiative currently in the development stage and managed by the Enguserosambu Forest Trust. In between they met with staff at the College of African Wildlife Management in Mweka, toured the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park and visited a high end tourist lodge on the village lands of Ololosokwan Village and were greeted by the Ololosokwan villagers in fine Maasai style at their new cultural development centre. The students undertook group projects relating to their course work and presented their results on the last day at Almatasia Camp before leaving for Arusha and points beyond. Many headed directly back for the fall semester while others took the opportunity to travel further in Tanzania and the surrounding region.
It was indeed a remarkable experience for everyone and other reflections and links to images and videos from the field school will be following over the next while as people are able to sort through the materials and their own impressions of the experience. Stay tuned.