Update from Sarah moments ago: "South Luangwa is beautiful, and the wildlife camp is great. Elephants everywhere, fighting hippos, naughty monkeys. A baby monitor lizard is living above papa's room."
The maiden voyage of our new chariot brought us to Cape Maclear: a beach town nestled in a beautiful bay of Lake Malawi. Our group enjoyed our first truck-camping experience: chopping vegetables from Samukange (our cook), learning Shona phrases with Ngwena (our driver), and basking in golden orange sunsets on the beach. The lake provided an impressive backdrop for classes, and the students finally found time to take care of the important things in life – laundry! Yet right as our clothes dried, it was time to immerse ourselves in a new experience. In double kayaks, the students and teachers of TTS24 paddled out to Domwe Island, and had the opportunity to experience a private island experience. With our tents set up on the beach, we found time to journal independently, make science field observations, and enjoy each others company. We learned the value of a dedicated hour of conversation in an activity called “dyads,” in which a pair are assigned to speak to each other and no one else. Tiny blue geckos darted around the paths, and we encouraged the students to move beyond superficial topics and gain deeper knowledge about their peers. The setting of reflection, relaxation, and rejuvenation led into our first Circle – a TTS tradition in which an intentional space is created to safely share feelings and address concerns. We dedicated this Circle to what we want to let go from our lives during this semester, and were joined in our ceremony by a civet cat slyly spying on our group from the forest.
We crossed into a new country today! As I write this now, I am eavesdropping on the students as they pour over the guide books from our library, quizzing each other on Zambia-related trivia. Discussions of resources, exchange rates, regions, and population statistics float through the cool night air. Tomorrow we head to South Luangwa National Park, one of the foremost wildlife viewing locations in Africa!