I am visiting schools in some villages in northern Tanzania (Loliondo) to teach school students about ecosystem services. I am following the master’s degree programme in biology and mathematics with teacher education at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and this will be my master’s thesis. I feel very inspired to continue this adventure.
A friend of mine had a similar project in Tanzania a few years ago and I took the chance to send an e-mail to Eivin Røskaft, coordinator of AfricanBioServices, to see if I could do something similar. I felt very fortunate and excited when I received a positive response.
I had many different thoughts when I left Oslo on my first flight – to Nairobi, Kenya. I’ve never been in Africa before and did not know what to expect when I arrived in Tanzania. The main thought I had was how the education program I had planned would turn out. I also wondered what to expect when I arrived in Arusha, what the research station in Seronera was like, which people I was going to cooperate with and which animals I would see. I had a short flight from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro where Juma picked me up, one of the drivers involved in AfricanBioServices. We drove to a nice house in Arusha where I stayed for a few days to organize the paper work to enter Serengeti National Park.
On our way to Serengeti, we went through Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Ngorongoro has a jungle like environment with a lot of vegetation. It did not take long before we saw animals in Ngorongoro, baboons were walking close to the road. Midway through the park, we stopped to look at the beautiful crater with a panorama view of the savannah.
Entering Serengeti was an amazing experience. It is currently the dry season in Serengeti so the landscape looked very different from the one we experienced in Ngorongoro. When we entered Serengeti National Park we got a nice view of a cheetah close to the road. My “bodyguard”, Per Harald Olsen, who is also a photographer, took a lot of nice photos.
I will visit six villages to teach about ecosystem services in Serengeti. I will give out a questionnaire to the students in the beginning of my visit to find out about their previous knowledge about ecosystems. After a few days of teaching I will give them the same questionnaire to see what they have learned and if they have changed any of their initial views.
Before leaving to the first village, we stayed at the research station in Seronera for a few days and I got to experience game drives/safari trips in Serengeti. We saw many beautiful animals such as lions, giraffes, zebras, elephants, hippopotamuses and impalas – very cool.
I am now at the first village I’m going to be teaching at, Wasso located in Loliondo. It was really fun to finally meet the students I will be spending the next days with. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming. I have given out the first questionnaire and it will be interesting to see the results from the same questionnaire after I have had my lectures.
In my next blog post, I will tell you more about my project and what I’ve learned from my stay in different villages.