July 26-29, 2022

July 26, 2022. Today was the final exam and field notebook hand in. The final exam was 45 questions of multiple choice, fill in the blank and practical identification of bones, fossils, rock type and stone tool type/characteristics. We then had 90 minutes to complete an essay question. My essay took about 45 minutes and was quite a bit different from the students completed due to the nature of my role here at the KFFS.

We went to the lake one last time as a large group and had fun. Some of us completed laundry and packed early for our departure tomorrow.

July 27, 2022. We have breakfast at 5 am. I e been awake since 330 am with tornado strength wind gusts in which I thought my tent would be ripped apart. No storms just strong winds. We have to pack up our tents during these intense gusts. That should be a fun challenge.

We have two days of travel ahead of us to get to Nanyuki. Once there we stay two nights yet the first night we actually arrive at dusk. Set tents up, eat supper, sleep. Then we have a day of relaxing or something fun scheduled. After that day we travel to our one night in the hotel at Nairobi, eat a final “nice” supper and leave for our home countries the next day in August 31.

I will update on these travel days when I can. We made it to South Horr. It is 85 degrees F when we arrived and now at 745 while we wait for supper we are getting cold. Long sleeves are on most of us and I think I will need to use a blanket tonight when sleeping. I have not used a blanket since staying at Mpala Research Ranch at the beginning of this trip.

Update: I am laying down in my tent and I am not sweating. The conditions are……nice.

July 28, 2022. We are traveling to Nanyuki. It is a long, dusty and bumpy ride. It is 11 am and we stopped for a water break. Not sure how much longer but I will update when we arrive at the next location.

We made it to Nanyuki and staying at a wildlife park area. The temp was very cool compared to where we have been in the Koobi Fora places. The temp was 59* F and dropped to 54 in the night.

It was really cold on the unimog since it is open air. Masks were for the dust…we got sandblasted for two days.

July 29, 2022. I had TWO sleeping bags unzipped and used as blankets and it was the best night’s sleep I have had since being in Kenya. I still woke up early compared to everyone else and was able to explore the river just outside the perimeter fence of our tent camp site. I have some pics of the river which is very low due to the dry season.

That is Chelle for scale.

We relaxed for quite a while then traveled to a wildlife orphanage and park. Lots of pictures below. Also, since we are now back in part of Kenya where we interact with people we must mask up. Especially some we all will be traveling internationally very soon.

The oldest and most rare Mountain Bongo in the world.
This is Elizabeth the ostrich with a bad foot due to a snare.
Yes I got that close to them. Wow that was intense and amazing.
Just took a mud bath and came around to be admired.
Pigmy hippo
Eland visit.

We also visited the equator and a bunch of shops to buy items. The amount of haggling over prices was overwhelming. I have NEVER been in a bartering situation that intense. But I was able to purchase a few item for back home.

Yeah! Equator in Nanyuki!!
Shops in background.

Last event of the evening is when the research staff cooks for the kitchen staff who fed us throughout the entire field school under difficult conditions. We ate very well during the time here in Kenya. Our head chef made amazing food out of ingredients brought with us into the different field camp sites as well as purchase food when possible. Here are a few of the senior research staff cooking the evening meal.

Grilling the food.

Final evening supper with grilled chicken, guacamole, chips, Mac and cheese, potato wedges, grilled onion wedges, cooked greens, fresh tomatoes and onion mix. Lastly a final fire with conversations filling the night, transforming a crisp evening under clouded skies into an excited moment in time. This group of people have a bond that runs deeper than 2 months in the fora researching human evolution, fascinating discoveries and the living history of modern humanity’s link to the past. Standing on the shoulders of giants is an understatement. A staff member Dr. Ben Davies made this statement several weeks ago and it is very fitting: “The systems we are dealing with in the present are a legacy of what has been done in the past.” This experience may come to a close but the present work continues, lives on since human curiosity never dies.