Friday, June 6, 2014

Day 9: Butare, Lessons in the Ethnogram

Today was a very short day in terms of things we saw. I also have to be very brief because I need to go to bed very soon. We have to leave the hotel at 5am sharp so we can get to the forest and start tracking the Chimpanzees. So we got up in the morning and ate breakfast. Then we loaded up the car so we were ready to leave as soon as we were done with our activity for the day. We went back to the campus and practiced our observation skills with the vervet monkeys. It was really cool. I have never had a chance to do something like this, and it was great to learn how it is done. I wasn’t sure what would happen, or what to expect, but everyone was really nice and took the time to explain to me how it worked and what to look for. So we followed the vervets around and noted their behaviors, social interactions, etc. We did that for about 30-45 minutes after a brief explanation and Q&A with Dr. Rundus. On our way out we stopped on campus at their genocide memorial for the students and faculty of the university that were killed in the 1994 genocide. They have what appears to be a grave as well as large boards with pictures of the students and faculty they lost in the genocide. Following that brief visit, we stopped at a co-op for some more shopping. Lots of fun things to take home were purchased. Then on to one more amazing lunch in Butare before we hit the road. It was a 3 hour ride through the country and one of the national forests. The roads were very curvy and many were one lane and many times we all made noises of surprise when we would come around a corner and a mac truck would be barreling down the middle of the road towards us. We made it safe and sound to possibly the largest, and nicest hotel ever. Compared it America it could use some upgrades, but it is massive! It has a livingroom and there are two twin bedrooms that each have their own bathroom. We were told our suite is where the president stays when he is in the area. Ok, well I have to head off to bed, I’m sure I’ll get a chance tomorrow after the chimps to blog some more. Goodnight!

P.S. I got an email from the student I met yesterday and he informed me that his final project for his undergraduate degree has been approved, and that he dedicated it to me, including pictures of me and him at the very end of it. It was very nice to hear that he was successful, and I was touched that he felt compelled to dedicate his undergraduate “memoir” or thesis, to me. So many amazing people here!

Mother with baby walking about 5-10 feet from me.

A pull off in the national forest. Words cannot describe how amazing it was.

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