16 January 2006

A summary of my village/Tarangire trip

Habari zenu? Last Thursday I went with a fellow student of mine (Bernard, a Tanzanian) who was in town, to visit some villages in the Tarangire ecosystem (part of my study area). Bernard has good connections with the villagers so he was introducing me to some of them, giving them a heads up that I would be back in the area. All the villages we visited were Maasai (a pastoralist people).The people were very friendly and it was good to get out into my study area and actually see what is going on. To get to the furthest most village was about a 2 hour plus drive on a paved road, and then at least two hours on a unpaved, unkempt dirt path. After visiting three villages, we spent the evening in Mto wa Mbu (Mosquito river). On the trip to Mto wa Mbu the exhaust pipe in the car fell off (or something similar bad happened) and the next morning we spent a good hour getting the car fixed (a very typical event for field research here). Fixing the car ate into our time so we only visited one more village (or the village office rather), but then went to a semi-protected area that I didn’t know about, but is a good area for my study. I spent the night at Bernard and Ifura’s “house” in Tarangire National Park after having tea with the Foleys (Elephant researchers). The next morning I returned with Ifura to Arusha. The whole trip was shadowed by the current drought, where many cows and goats we saw were starving. We saw a handful already dead along the road. Many told us of their livestock losses, and we even heard of some Maasai that had committed suicide b/c the drought had killed all there livestock! We had a little rain during the trip, but haven’t had any these past two days.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jen! I think I remember something about the Masai, that they drink the blood and urine of their cattle (do they bleed them, but don't kill them?) After reading about your goat eating, I was wondering if you have run across any of this drink...Your goat piece made me think about how when I lived in Iceland I had to eat rotted sharks meat and sheep heads! Love, Aunt Kate

12:34 AM  

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