The recorded ramblings of an unschooled writer, aspiring biologist, amateur equestrian, ardent bookworm, avid music appreciator, increasingly addicted runner and college student spending the summer in Ely, MN.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

In the land of Mary Leaky...

October 29, 2009

Writing this on the 30th while my computer is hooked up to the generator so that I will have full battery power left this evening for writing the essay on Hadza development that is worth a full 20% of my second IS course (which is to my mind, a little bit of an overwhelming percentage for one essay).

Yesterday was a travel day, so a lot of time spent in the truck, but there were several cool things that happened. The first of which was our stop at Oldavi Gorge. Some cool things about it are:
1. It is the main place where Louis and Mary Leaky did their archeological research. They are pretty amazing people because:
a. Louis Leaky was the first person to sponsor Jane Goodall’s work with chimps in Tanzania in Gombe Stream.
b. Mary Leaky discovered an early hominid skull there, which inspired many more archoleaigcal expeditions to continue work there.
2. A very famous series of footprints preserved in layers of volcanic ash was found there which features:
a. Three sets of hominid footprints
b. Guinea fowl prints
c. The prints of a small three toed horse mare and her foal
3. The shifting sands
a. A large hill of dark grey or black sand that blows all together, very slowly and has moved hundreds of meters over the years.
b. Periodically there have been conrete markers placed of where the sands where each year. It was pretty cool to see the first marker, for 1969, before the sands themselves could even be seen.

Also along the way we saw: golden jackals coming out of their den, two species of vulture picking clean an impala carcass (we were actually able to get out of the trucks and take a very close look the carcass, which was neat), several new species of harriers (birds) and an aardvark carcass (remarkably spotted by Kai) being devoured by maggots by the side of the road, which also neat to watch.

We arrived at a campsite in the hills where it is slightly chiller and foresty – though not as damp and green as the Nou forest, where we will be staying for the next couple of days to rest before our Maasai homestays and work on assignments.

We drove past a manyatta, a temporary Maasai village constructed for the purpose of having age-set rituals to initiate the current morran or warrior class into the junior elder class. The ceremonies haven’t started yet and we are hoping that we will be able to go see some of them in the next couple of days.


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