Adventures in (Post) Gradland

Thoughts on life after the PhD

Guest Post: Dispatches from Tanzania

So I’m long overdue for a post, and there’s plenty to write about (new job, new career stuff in general), but it’s taking a while to sort it all out in my head, so it hasn’t happened yet.

In the meantime, my sister just got back from an amazing trip to Tanzania, and the email she sent me was so cool that I asked her if I could post it here. Here it is!

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Trip was incredible. Seriously the greatest 2 weeks I’ve had maybe in my life, definitely in the last 10 years. My mind was totally free from chatter and stress, and I had zero stomach issues and no headaches (very rare) and even felt awake most days despite sleeping on hard ground in a tent with two guys (super nice guys). We saw every animal you can imagine living in Africa (easily 10,000 wildebeests, no joke, 100 giraffes, a few troupes of baboons, ostrich, warthogs, lions WITH and without cubs, etc). But even cooler than that, we got to see Oldupai Gorge, which is where Mary Leakey discovered the first australopithecus boisei and the first true hominid, Homo Habilis. Also saw the Laetoli footprints, which they estimate to be from a man, woman, and child around 3.1 million years old. That day blew my mind almost as much as anything else.

Spent lots of time with the local tribes, mostly Maasai, who are those tall thin herders in the red robes that you see on National Geographic standing with a wooden stick draped over their shoulders. We had Maasai guides with us the whole time and got to see their homes (nyombas) and their villages (bomas) and their schools. They live exclusively on cow milk, cow blood, and cow meat. Period. They were incredible. Also got to go hunting (yes HUNTING) with a tribe of fully nomadic bushmen called the Hazabi who speak a click-based language. They let us follow them 3 hours into the forest and they shot a bird out of a tree with a wooden arrow. The bird landed with no head. As in, they shot the head clean off with a WOODEN tipped arrow. Then they promptly built a fire with no matches (just 2 pieces of wood) and cooked the bird and offered everyone a piece. I almost drop-kicked the squeamish vegetarian girl in our group when she waffled as it was handed to her. Fortunately she discreetly threw it over her shoulder, hopefully they didn’t notice. That was a pretty great day.

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This entry was posted on September 5, 2014 by in Uncategorized.
Anne McKnight

writing•translation•scholarship on Japan (and a few other things)

A Modern Girl / モダンガール

tales of travel, research, and life

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