Ruaha National Park

We spent the entire day today at Ruaha on a game drive through the park…amazing! There’s nothing quite like seeing these animals in their natural habitat. We were face-to-face with hippos, crocodiles, greater kudus, dikdiks, lesser kudus, lions with their cubs, birds, elephants, giraffes, zebras, warthogs, impala, a leopard, and even some ostriches! It was an incredible adventure that included getting chased by an angry elephant who was trying to protect her herd and her newborn calf. The fact that we got to see so many animals in one single-day safari was incredible in and of itself, but it was really special to have the opportunity to see how they coexist. I was worried when I saw a crocodile creeping towards the baby hippo, but our guide explained that they actually get along quite well. The crocodiles eat the fish that come to eat the hippos’ poop, and in turn the crocodiles help to keep the hippos’ predators away! Our guide was wonderful – a Masai warrior named “Cashew” (just like the nut!) who was full of information about the animals and the Masai way of life.

I’m honesty not sure what was the best part of today: being close enough to touch the pride of female lions, watching the elephants by the watering hole, or looking the leopard in the eye while it hissed and snarled at us. It’s impossible to do justice to this experience through words or pictures – the whole day really just felt like a movie!

The Ruaha Hilltop Lodge where we’re staying is wonderful…it was so nice to take a warn shower tonight that didn’t come from a bag (and could give me more than 2 gallons of water)! We were here for Halloween too…and saw a giant cockroach, a massive spider, and a few bats during dinner. I guess that’s as Halloween-y as it gets. HA! We treated ourselves to some candy corn after diner last night…we brought it all the way from home, and it really did make it feel like Halloween. We were joking that we all were going as “muzungu” this year…that’s what the local kids call white people!

As nice as it is to have a break and to be in a slightly more luxurious situation, I’m itching to get back to Pommern. I was flipping through pictures today and got emotional thinking about how much I love Pommern…when Edward said it would become our home I had no idea how right he was! Although the local people keep thanking us for coming to volunteer, I feel like I should be thanking them. To be a part of the beautiful community there, to have friends that I look forward to spending time with, and to have such inspiring people to work alongside is a blessing. Even though I’ve just passed the halfway point, I can already say that this experience has changed my life. It sounds cliché, but there’s no better way to put it. Looking back and seeing what we’ve accomplished in the first half makes me so excited for what is coming –and who knows what’ll happen?!? It’s always an adventure!

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Our hilltop lodge…with hot showers and a beautiful view!

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Reenacting the beginning of the Lion King…it seemed fitting!

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Cake on Halloween…what a treat! 🙂

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Yes, we brought candy corn all the way from the US, and yes, we did eat it on Halloween!

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SAFARI READY!!

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Looking out over the hippo and crocodile river

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If you look closely you can see hippos behind us!!!

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Giraffes are breathtakingly majestic creatures 🙂

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We were SO CLOSE to this pride of female lions!

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Yum yum…leaves for lunch!

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SO. CLOSE. AHHHH

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She had such personality…and she was surprisingly friendly!

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God created beautiful creatures 🙂

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I’m the queen of Pride Rock! 😛

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SAFARI SELFIE!

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The elephant herd BEFORE we were chased away

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ZEBRAS

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Warthogs are really ugly in person 😛

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We were so lucky to get to see a leopard!

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LOOK AT THE BABY HIPPO 😀 SO CUTE

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Post-safari (10 hours later) with our driver, Joseph, and our guide, Cashew

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Cashew all dressed up in his Masai warrior garb for dinner…how cool!

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