by Dr. Tracy Rutherford
This trip has been filled with -ologies, much more than any of us anticipated: anthropology, paleontology, archaeology, geology, technology and zoology. Brooke has had many opportunities to demonstrate that she paid attention in class while many of us wish we had done more than memorize the information for the test.
That’s what I have learned on this trip – it is about the experience and applying what you’ve learned, not the grade on your transcript. Neudamm reminded us of the importance of agriculture, Gobabeb challenged our research skills, and Etosha brought Africa to life (as the elephants blocked the path of the bus and later intimidated a young lion pride), I can only wonder what lessons we’ll learn in the final days of our adventure.
Jack Elliot told me Namibia is his second home because it reminds him of Arizona. I think all of us appreciate the similarities between this country and the United States, while enjoying the hospitality of our hosts and the abundance of excellent chefs. We have definitely received the red carpet treatment, and I am grateful that our students have the chance to give back to this country – the chance to leave a legacy that will guide this program for years to come.
My hope is that the legacy of this program is for our students to learn beyond the book, apply beyond the test and do something with their education.
We started this experience with the study of agricultural communications and leadership at Neudamm preparing to translate scientific information based on the research at Gobabeb. Now we are fine-tuning those skills to emphasize education about science as we prepare to work with the Cheetah Conservation Fund.
We are still exploring all those -ologies and have added two more, sociology and psychology, as we continue to learn about ourselves, our group and the people of Namibia.