Hello Everyone!

Yesterday I received word that my Gilman Scholarship documents were all approved and I will be receiving my scholarship shortly. This is very welcome news as the prices of apartments in Chengdu are rising quickly I hear.

One thing I wanted to mention to anyone that will be going to Asia is something none of the guidebooks mention but my Taiwanese exchange student brought up. When traveling or staying in Asia bring your own personal tissue. Even in America she would carry around the small packages of Kleenex or other soft tissues out of habit. Most public restrooms in Asia don't provide it and frankly I don't want to be the one without :) Yes, this does seem like odd advice but I was grateful to Olivia for the info and I hope it will benefit others to put this out there.

I have one month left before I depart to Shanghai and as I learn things I will pass them on.

My first measure

On my way back to Nairobi and then Trans Mara from the Laikipia aerial census. At midnight tonight my attachment to Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) ends. I want to take a moment to say thank you to everyone at KWS that I have had the pleasure to work with during the past three months.

Environmental Sciences senior, Mayeli Hensley, is spending the fall quarter doing research in Kenya as part of a UW Tacoma independent study abroad program.

Co-pilot seat of the helo!

So we have been in Laikipia (Nanyuki) for the past few days doing the aerial census. It has been a great experience thus far. I have been busy inputing a lot of data from the counts, which has taught me some nifty tricks on excel :) I am eager to get back to the Mara though, I find that I miss it. I have also made some good contacts from several NGOs. Keeping my fingers crossed that they will remember me when I am looking for a job - LOL!

Environmental Sciences senior, Mayeli Hensley, is spending the fall quarter doing research in Kenya as part of a UW Tacoma independent study abroad program.

Elation

I got an award letter for funding the majority of my attendance to the TAAG biodiversity conference to be held in Nairobi, Kenya in July!!! So stoked... I think elation is an accurate description of the sensation I am filled with right now. I tell you, God places challenges in my path, but he continues to guide me here. In my heart I am home, and I love my work here, the rest I can overcome.

Environmental Sciences senior, Mayeli Hensley, is spending the fall quarter doing research in Kenya as part of a UW Tacoma independent study abroad program.

Elephant on the Mara

This is my last night at the Mara. I am eager to continue my journey but I love it here and am going to miss so much and so many. I have learned and experienced so much, I am thankful for having met such wonderful people to teach me.

Tomorrow I am supposed to head to Nairobi. I need to take care of some business in town, to include a visit to the doctor since I have been sick with a nasty cough. I will return to the Mara area in about 10 days and report to WWF. I need to finish my abstract for my TTAG presentation that is due in 1 week... I wish time would stop for me, so I can catch up!

Environmental Sciences senior, Mayeli Hensley, is spending the fall quarter doing research in Kenya as part of a UW Tacoma independent study abroad program.

Zebra on the Mara

Ran about three days worth of transects today, all thanks to good friends who worked long and hard to help me, and the best part is that they offered! I couldn’t ask to be in the company of better people. A couple of these guys have really wedged themselves in my heart, which if you know anything about me is truly difficult if you walk on two legs. Many people thought I never actually came back to the U.S. from my first trip to Kenya, so I can tell you that this second time leaving Kenya is going to be infinitely harder for me. I just hope I can hold on in the U.S. long enough to finish school, so I can come home again (to Kenya).

Environmental Sciences senior, Mayeli Hensley, is spending the fall quarter doing research in Kenya as part of a UW Tacoma independent study abroad program.

Sunrise on the Mara

I have confirmed with Dr. Sitati from WWF that I will be joining them in their work for the Month of December. I will be staying at Lolgorian for the first 20 or so days of December before I take my leave to Meru and then the coast for some R&R. I am excited to have confirmation about my next assignment and it helps put my mind at ease about my plans. Had a long day today with not much productivity, but was able to finally get my REI shipment to replace my

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Working on the data

I have been working on entering and analyzing data, writing papers, and rerunning all my transects. I hope to be done with everything by the end of the month or at the latest, the end of the first week of next month so I can submit everything well in advance of my vacation. I should be traveling to Laikipia at the end of next week for the aerial census. I have not confirmed yet where my next move will be, but still have a tentative plan to return to the Mara and continue work with elephants and either help Dr. Sitati at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) or Joyce Poole with Elephant Voices. I wish I had more time to offer them, but I have to go back at the end of the year. As it is I will be back with an 11-hour jet lag, the night before the first day of the Winter quarter, and am taking E-Chem and Electromagnetic physics (or something like that).

Environmental Sciences senior, Mayeli Hensley, is spending the fall quarter doing research in Kenya as part of a UW Tacoma independent study abroad program.

Working with elephants

It has been raining at the Mara, this means that the last few transects I was going to run are not possible at this point. I also need to rerun all my transects starting next week. It will be my last week of data collection. After that I may be allowed to take part in the aerial census in Laikipia, but I am not sure yet. We will have to wait and see. I also have to finish and submit my abstract to present at the Tropical Biology Association - TBA - Africa Alumni Group (TAAG for short) conference happening in Nairobi July 2013. I have applied for some grant money to be able to make the TAAG conference and am keeping my fingers crossed. That leaves me with the month of December which I have decided to split into three 10-day sections. The first will be to work with either World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Dr. Noah Sitati, and/or work with Joyce Poole from Elephant Voices. The second section will be to finish up all my data analysis, papers, presentations and other assignments for school. Finally, the last is a vacation before I return to the U.S. and the chaos of many changes and a full schedule that awaits me. Oh….I also lost another phone….sigh. Life certainly has some curves to it to make it more interesting. But I would not change a thing. I am in love!!! I love you KENYA!

Environmental Sciences senior, Mayeli Hensley, is spending the fall quarter doing research in Kenya as part of a UW Tacoma independent study abroad program.

My roommate

Have been continuing my research, running my own transects, and collecting data. Everyone here is great and I will soon have my lap top. That means that I will be able to start my papers, and if all works well, I plan to try and publish my research. When I return home there is a lot to deal with including finding a job, saving money for my return to Kenya, focusing on school and taking the GRE, while simultaneously looking for a job and a way to continue my education in Kenya. As much as I am getting done here, I know that returning home will more than fill my schedule. The fact that I do not want to leave, and the daunting task ahead of me, have my head spinning. I love and miss my family and hope that they are able to adjust to the changes that are coming.

Environmental Sciences senior, Mayeli Hensley, is spending the fall quarter doing research in Kenya as part of a UW Tacoma independent study abroad program.