TTS20 on Safari

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

More Updates from Ariane

We arrived to camp after a long day on dusty roads and were greeted by a welcome sight for our travel-weary eyes: lush green campgrounds directly overlooking the lower Zambezi River. As we set up camp we heard a deep "grunt, grunt, grunt"--hippos were in the water right below us! We were able to make out hippo noses surfacing for quick breaths of air on the river as our evening continued. After dinner, we indulged in some FFF--Forced Family Fun--and were blown away by the girls' impromptu creativity during our silly games.
Elephants on the Lower Zambezi River
The next morning we had the opportunity to cruise up and down the Zambezi as the sun rose. Binoculars out and eyeballs peeled, we floated by hippo pods, spotted slinking crocodiles along the river banks, and came within a few feet of our first elephants! We were able to snap all sorts of photos as the elephants worked their way through an early morning breakfast of grasses and reeds.

That afternoon, Tim Fuller (father of Alexandra Fuller, whose book Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight we are reading in Global Studies) showed us around his farm. We learned all about his banana plantation and tilapia hatcheries while bumping over rutted roads and dodging goats and sheep.

The next day, the girls spent the morning in the nearby village where a group of local boys performed traditional dances for our group, and schoolchildren showed us around the town. After lunch and a final goodbye to our newfound hippo friends, we hit the road again to continue our Zambian adventures!


We began our science classes with a test of our students' observational skills by having a blindfolded group search for a specific mango tree. Since then, students have continued to apply their observational research skills in writing their field journal entries. Last week, Lake Kariba provided a powerful backdrop for learning about the concept of “The Tragedy of the Commons” and its effect on Zambian and Zimbabwean fishermen. We even had the opportunity to 'fish' for Kapenta fish by night, luring them to the surface with our headlamps. We will continue to explore the topics of conservation and sustainability in Zambia’s national park system.

We started our Literature and Composition class by discussing human stories: What power do stories hold? How can stories be dangerous? And how can stories give us a better understanding of our experiences here in South-East Africa? We explored these questions as we read a number of short stories and poems written by local authors, and began our first novel, Zenzele. We are also using creative writing prompts and workshops to play and experiment with our own writing techniques. Finally, the students are well into their first essay, this one written as an epistle , to mirror Zenzele's format, but with the subject of their choice.

Almost a quarter of the way into the TTS20 Semester, the history students have already covered a wide range of pertinent topics. They began by examining different factors and forces that have shaped this region's history, especially focusing on the area's physical geography and European colonization. From there, the students studied historical and political trends in Zambia over the past hundred years to gain a better understanding of the nation's current political state. The class has been able to supplement lessons with conversations with local southern Africans and with a visit to the history museum in Livingstone, where students synthesized what they learned into creating David Livingstone's Facebook page or writing a Recipe for Revolution.

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