21 December 2010

Carnivore Update

Carnivores, carnivores, carnivores. Most of our research is facilitated with radio-collared animals, but we take advantage of opportunistic sightings of uncollared animals whenever we can. Hyenas have really been helpful lately, lying along the roads in the early evening and letting us get very close to follow them as they hunt. The hyenas are quite predictable, lying along the routes the wildlife use to reach the river to get a drink at night, when all the people and livestock are safely inside their bomas. Uncollared lion sightings have also been surprisingly common. Even though none of the 3 new males who have immigrated to the study area wears a collar, we have had no trouble finding them at least once a week. Of course, being able to find receptive females makes it much easier to find interested males. The new males have been seen mating or courting at least three lioness we regularly follow. (written by David Christianson)

15 December 2010

Construction Update

This will likely be our last construction update, for a while anyhow. The masons and laborers all left and the builder gave everyone the green light to move into the new buildings. The new and improved Resource Center looks amazing and the spacious, cool buildings have made living and working in the camp much more comfortable.

Before moving into the new staff quarters, the guys in camp wanted to have a feast together. We spent the afternoon engaged in a chapati cook-off and then stuffed ourselves that evening with goat meat, beans, sakuma wiki, and chapatis...so many chapatis.

03 December 2010

School Supply Donations

At the end of November we went shopping for school supplies using the money that many different friends of the resource center donated over the past several months. Albert and Joel provided us with wish lists from two different nursery school teachers in the area. The four of us visited both schools and presented the donations on behalf of the generous donors who made the donations possible. We visited the nursery school at Darkalali first. We were greeted by a number of parents and community elders who were extremely grateful for the donation.

When we went inside we realized what a huge difference this small donation would make. The teacher had been relying on tattered hand-drawn charts to teach her students things like colors and letters, so the stack of new charts we gave her will most certainly be put to good use.

Here you can see the classroom for the "baby class." The 3-year-olds learn under this tree while the pre-school and kindergarten students learn inside the school. It made me wish we had been able to fit a classroom in the little trunk we brought.

A few days later we visited the nursery school at Embirika and gave the teacher the school supplies we had purchased. There were many parents and other members of the community in attendance to accept the donation and express their gratitude. We were even treated to some singing and dancing by some of the children and women. It was truly an honor and we thank those of you who donated for making it possible...you have touched many lives through your generosity.

Albert showed pictures from the book on animals that we picked out. It was a huge hit and the children's eyes absolutely lit up as they shouted out the names of the animals.

Albert said that most of the children at the school have probably never even seen a ball before, let alone actually played with one. The balls and jump rope should make their outdoor time more enjoyable and educational.