So we have now left the direct training part of the program and are now in what I think of as the go-around-asking-people-for-interesting-things-to-do phase.
This is basically is a time where we are in the HQ and have the freedom to more deeply explore different areas of AWF’s work. I’m also catching up on reading: Every time I think I have gotten a grip on AWF’s projects, it turns out there’s some other project I have never heard of, or another one about to start, or some such.
Having been here for a little while now, I’m starting to explore a bit more. Last weekend I went to a literary festival in the Nairobi museum. It was a completely different side to the capital than one I have seen of any African city before. I was particularly moved by a talk from a Zambian journalist about the need for men in Africa to address the problems of sexism and domestic violence that plague a lot of nations. It’s rare to see people discussing a problem within their own culture, and it was fascinating.
On a brighter note, I am soon off to Chyulu Hills in our Kilimanjaro Heartland to join some scouts on a rhino-based anti-poaching patrol. When I was there before, I met the staff of the impressive Big Life organisation, an AWF partner and an anti-poaching NGO that works tirelessly to protect the breath-taking wildlife that live beneath Mount Kilimanjaro. In fact I have been itching to get out into the bush since I got here but this is the first chance to go out on a real trek I have had. I will be going on a nocturnal patrol, as I’m reliably informed that’s when the poachers strike. I can’t wait!
I’m also starting to get a feel for Kenyan culture. This not being the first foreign culture I have had the good luck to experience, I have started to notice a few things about learning about foreign cultures. Mainly, and I appreciate this maybe due to being British, the more cultures I learn about, the most insane and weird my own seems. We have so many established conventions that make absolutely no sense when you try to explain them to someone who has never experienced them. It’s not until you try to explain to a Kenyan the etiquette of bumping into someone on the tube, that you realise how mental it sounds.
This blog is from our Conservation Management Trainee series. Our trainees will be providing you with updates as they progress on their journeys with AWF. To follow them on their travels, read their blogs.
Sam came to the AWF Conservation Management Training Program from London. He received a master's degree in conservation science and served as a research and development manager for Frontier —working on wildlife corridors, land-use plans, and large mammals. Sam spent his childhood exploring the woods in England and France, and he continues to pursue any opportunity to have an adventure.
AWF Blogs bring you to the African Heartlands, where conservation benefits both wildlife and people alike. The blogs are written by our staff - men and women who have dedicated their lives to Africa's wildlife, people and wild lands.