5 ft to Duma and a Greener World

7 Oct

Tanzania still amazes me with every breath I take. This week, we went to Ngorongoro Crater, “the eighth wonder of the world”, on safari. Inside this crater, which was created by a volcano that exploded and collapsed into itself, exists an ecosystem so pure that’s it also been called “Africa’s Eden”.  It is home to over 25,000 animals, including an extensive population of lion prides.

I was impressed by all the animals I saw that day, nothing left me as awestruck as our encounter with duma (Swahili for cheetah).  All day, our truck drove around, seeing the same wildlife as all the other national parks we’ve attend and when we were getting ready to ascend out of the crater, we came upon a cheetah. Initially, we thought that a fellow truck had hit the animal because it appeared to be under the wheel of the vehicle. With a better view, we saw that she just wanted to get out of the African sun after eating her tasty meal of a Thomson’s Gazelle fawn. We were less than 5 ft from the cat and we could hear her ragged breathe when all the gathered trucks were shut off. Africa provided me with yet another unique experience.

It was interesting to me how the wildlife is affected by the environmental changes humans cause. The cheetah was seeking shade from the relentless heat and changed her instinctual behavior and approached a mass of trucks for relief. All around the world, green practices are being practiced in hopes of halting the degradation of the Earth. I have never seen such an effort than by those people of Tanzania.

Yesterday, we embarked on a traveling lecture, visiting various places in the Karatu district. Our focus for the day was environmental conservation. First, we visited a secondary school and learned about the Environmental Conservation Committee’s plans for their school. This student led club had various ways to lessen their impact on the environment.

Many areas functions without electricity and this school was no different. Water is usually taken from surrounding areas, such as Lake Manyara National Park and this leads to depletion of water resources for the animals. They constructed a gutter and tank system to collect rainwater to alleviate their dependency on imported water. The 10,000 L tank can be filled in two days of heavy rain. That amount of water will last the school for a month’s time. In addition, they grow seedling trees to plant on school grounds, as well as, for students to take home to better their village.  Because deforestation and exploitation of wood sources is a key issue in much of Africa, their tree project is highly impactful.

The world is so mindful of our influence on the environment but Africans are doing so much more than all else. They produce much less waster than the US does naturally, and with their combined environmentally friendly habits, they are doing the world a great service. Again, it just shows me that we, as an industrialized world, have drifted too far from the resources of nature. We use too much energy, energy that we probably don’t need and energy that is swiftly disappearing.

Africa is teaching me life lessons everyday and I am eager to learn.

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