Category Archives: Cultures

Silent chimpanzees

Saturday June 7th, 2014

Today was a devastating blow. We only have a few days left in the field  and we have still not heard a single chimp call or seen a trace of one on a camera trap.

This does not mean that there are no chimpanzees present in the area. We find fresh feeding sites on a daily basis, smell fresh urine and have even been lucky enough to find some feces.

One of our unsuccessful camera traps being set
One of our unsuccessful camera traps being set

 

 

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River Crossings

I am waiting on some photographs from some fellow travelers for my next post, so while I wait I decided to write down my side notes, and tell you a bit about my research project. So let’s begin with some side notes. These are just little things I have written down in my journal that might have belonged with a previous post that I forgot, or if it was a thought or observation that didn’t really belong anywhere:

Driving onto the Freetown Ferry
Driving onto the Freetown Ferry

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Arrival in Lungi

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

 

You see the towns in pictures and documentaries, and you always know you’re lacking something because it’s second hand. Driving through the outskirts of Lungi and seeing how many buildings are crumbling or were never completely built is an overwhelming sight after the clean streets of Schilde. Scraggly chickens and stray dogs run around the brush piles and cooking fires as our car speeds past. The people in torn t-shirts with their bare feet do a double take upon noticing our skin color. The air is thick with the smoke of agricultural fires burning along the side of the road.

Flying into Lungi
Flying into Lungi

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Marocki Village fire

Marocki Village needs your help. This village is our partner in the Tonkolili Chimpanzee Project and on Earth Day they lost 11 of their homes to a fire, most likely due to agricultural burning. This is a very poor village that is still recovering economically from the civil war.

A before and after of the Marocki Village fire
A before and after of the Marocki Village fire

Even though Earth Day was yesterday, we should be celebrating our Earth every day. If you feel like you did not get to do your part, or if you want to help the wonderful people of the Marocki Village or the endangered chimpanzees please consider donating to this cause.

Marocki Village is a very small village with only about 100 people living there, about half of them are small children. They have been incredibly dedicated to helping with chimpanzee conservation and our research project would not exist without them.

Please consider donating and sharing this cause. The more money we can raise the better off not only the people of Marocki can be, but it will help ensure a better future for chimpanzees.

Marocki Village at sunset. Photo by Benni Litman
Marocki Village at sunset. Photo by Benni Litman

Masoala National Park

A little while back I posted about the Aceh Protected Forest, a national park in peril and some ways that it might be improved. But there are still a lot of parks in peril out there, one that especially comes to mind is Masoala National Park in Madagascar. Madagascar has lost 85% of it’s forest to slash and burn farming, but it’s also one of the most unique ecosystems on the planet. How can we keep the lemurs leaping through the quickly falling forests of Madagascar? Well I guess you’ll just have to keep reading…

Silky Sifaka, photo from Creative Commons by "Simpsonafotsy"
Silky Sifaka, photo from Creative Commons by “Simpsonafotsy”

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women warriors

I’ve developed the habit of listening to BBC World News in the car rather than my usually country music and last week I heard a story that I just haven’t been able to shake. Mindy Budgor’s story has been following me around and making me feel like I really need to get out and starting making waves. Mindy, a California native, recently spent some time in Kenya earning her position as the first honorary Maasai female warrior. She spent several months eating only what she could kill, drinking blood and facing life-threatening situations, but she came out the other side stronger, happier and more at peace with her life.

mindy-budgor-massai-warrior-1-w724

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how the country of mali put me to shame

I recently decided that I should do more anthropologically minded posts, because I am an anthropologist. While I do post quite a bit about primates, I am sorely lacking in posts about cultures that western civilization may not know about. I was thinking that maybe I would do a post about the pygmy people living in the Ituri or maybe the aboriginals in Australia. Little did I know I would be learning, not only about a new culture, but a whole new country. A big country. That country is called Mali, and the main tribe of Mali is called the Bambara tribe.

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