After many hours of hard work, fun times, and great experiences, our journey together has reached it’s end. Today was the last day of class and it started out with some early morning studying. Our final exam was at 10:30 a.m. and the time for studying beforehand had been minimal. However, after two hours of non-stop writing most people came out feeling pretty good, other than a few hand cramps. We had a chance to wind down after lunch and to let the realization that the 2013-2014 school year was officially over sink in. In the evening we went on our final game drive together. We saw a couple of eland for the first time which was exciting because while we had become experts at identifying eland dung we had not yet had the chance to be able to identify the actual animal. We took a final group picture at Bakuli Dam, an overlook with stunning views.
After dinner, the day ended with a slide show of pictures from the whole trip and some emotional goodbyes or “see you laters.” We all hope to be able to come back here someday and meet again with our new friends from Kenya, so “goodbye” felt too permanent. A majority of us leave the Mpala Research Center tomorrow to either head home or to begin further travels in other parts of Africa. These last few weeks have been a great journey for all of us in a variety of ways and we hope you all have enjoyed experiencing it with us.
– Cortney Quick – Environmental Science, GC 2014
(Thanks to all of you for following our experience – the blog of course can only scratch the surface in terms of what we have seen and learned. It only alludes to how the experience has changed us and has helped us understand the complexities of how humans and nature might learn to coexist on this grand planet. It is a gift for which we are grateful, which will undoubtedly keep changing us for some time. Moreover, the gift of the relationships we have developed with our Kenyan colleagues will continue to inspire us. Thanks to the students for jumping in with such passion and sensitivity – what an amazing group of talented scholars who are well-equipped to envision hope-filled ways of healing ourselves and our planet – Ryan Sensenig, 2014)