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High Capacity! Cheek pouch storage in Sanje Mangabey

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Videos from the field / Videos del bosque

Enjoy some videos of the life of a mangabey!

!Esperamos que os gusten estos videos sobre la vida diaria de los mangabeys!

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/qEZv2Axe66w" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Bado amamantando a su cría.

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Acicalando al macho dominante

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Hora punta en la montaña.

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A éste juvenil de Sanje mangabey aún le falta aprender a compartir…

Asante Celebration at Msalise

Friday, July 30th was the Asante Sana (Thank You) celebration at Msalise Primary School for the donation of the solar panels, computer, printer and projector. The students and teachers prepared small presentations for David and I and asked us to convey their thanks to all of you that helped to bring this incredible gift to their school.

In addition to speeches from the Head Teacher, Assistant Head Teacher and the Village Chairman, the students entertained us with songs written especially for the occasion, including a rap! We were very honoured to have a personalized song written for Mr. and Mama Mrs. Davidi. It was a fantastic day and we were so happy to share it with many people from Msalise village, in addition to the students and teachers. Thank you again to everyone who helped us successfully complete this project.

Here are some photos from the celebration.

The school gives Mwalimu Churi fabric for a new suit for all his hard work

The school gives Mwalimu Churi fabric for a new suit for all his hard work

The head teacher and his wife presented us with a handwoven mat

The head teacher and his wife presented us with a handwoven mat

The school presented Grainne with a kanga for her and her mum back in Canada

The school presented Grainne with a kanga for her and her mum back in Canada

The kitanga is a traditional cloth worn by women

The kitanga is a traditional cloth worn by women

The school gives David a shirt in thanks and one for Grainne's dad also

The school gives David a shirt in thanks and one for Grainne's dad also

The head teacher gives a small speech

The head teacher gives a small speech

Students from Standard 3 and 4 entertain us with a traditional dance

Students from Standard 3 and 4 entertain us with a traditional dance

Girls from Standard 6 perform the Mr and Mama Mrs Davidi song

Girls from Standard 6 perform the Mr and Mama Mrs Davidi song

All the students gathered for the presentation

All the students gathered for the presentation

Mwalimu Churi and Grainne inspect the solar panels on top of the library

Mwalimu Churi and Grainne inspect the solar panels on top of the library

News from Msalise

We are very happy to report that the new solar panels at Msalise Primary School are working well! David and I visited the school on Tuesday to deliver the next surprise – a computer, printer and projector! Mwalimu Churi and the other teachers were speechless. We also delivered some soccer balls donated by friends and family from Canada.

Some of the best news is that the school has already earned 600 shillings (about 50 cents) from the first day of the small cell phone charging business they have started! We advised them to set a limit of 5 cell phones per day so that it doesn’t drain all the power from the batteries. They have also hired an askari (night watchman) so the panels have created an employment opportunity in the village. Isn’t it amazing what one small gesture can do?!

They are now talking about hiring a secretary to operate the computer and then they can charge a small fee if anyone in the village needs letters typed and printed. And we recommended that they also charge a small fee if groups from the area want to hold meetings in the school at night and use the lights in a classroom. Then they can earn money to make small repairs or buy supplies for the school. They are also petitioning the village council to put in strong metal doors on the library to protect the computer and the solar power system which is housed in there. It is so exciting!!

David, Ala (the woman who teaches conservation education at the Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Centre where we live) and I went to other primary schools Wednesday morning to distribute the soccer balls donated by Kristi Wowryk and Jackie Ross, from Calgary, Canada.  The students and teachers were very happy and excited. At Mang’ula A Primary School they called out all the students from class and they sang us the school song after a small presentation. Imagine so much excitement for one ball and a pump – unbelievable.  Thanks so much for the donation!

Friday is the big Asante celebration at Msalise for the solar panels.  The students have already been practicing songs and dances. We also asked them to set up a short football game between the standard 6 and standard 7 students to use the new ball!

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One of the soccer balls donated on behalf of Jackie Ross of Calgary, Canada.

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The head teacher at Mang’ula A Primary School tells the students about the gift of the soccer ball.

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The teachers of Mang’ula A Primary School with David and Grainne and the coach of the school’s football team (front row next to David).

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Kindergarten and Standard One students learn about the new soccer ball.

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Mwalimu Churi overwhelmed by the news of the new computer.

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The village chairman and teachers from Msalise (along with some curious villagers) gather to see Mwalimu Churi practicing on the computer.

More pictures tomorrow after the solar panel celebration at Msalise!

– Grainne

Let there be light!

At 6:30 pm last night we officially turned on the lights at Msalise! It was followed by a loud cheer from the watching crowd. Click on the photos to see a larger view.

The Solar Power Installation Project has begun!

A very special thank you to all the people who so generously donated their time and money to help us install solar panels on Msalise Primary School. This week the installation has begun. We will be posting throughout the week to keep you apprised of the progress!

Special thank you to the Grainne’s family and friends, especially Ann, Richard, Roisin, Kristi, Fiona and Shannon, who put so much effort into organizing events in Calgary to raise funds.

Here are some first shots of the work in progress!

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Students learn about the project and are very excited!

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Technicians begin the wiring and installing the inverter.

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Everyone wants to help unload the truck!

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The first day of painting the flags and our mangabey!

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The Sanje Mangabey! The Tanzanian flag is still being completed.

Last trip to the forest for Grainne and David

July 1st is a bittersweet day for us as we are heading back up to Mizimu for the last two weeks of our project here in the Udzungwa Mountains. While we are very excited to be officially finishing our field work for our Ph.D.s, we are also very sad about leaving the mangabeys. We have grown very close to our monkeys and will miss having the opportunity to observe their complex social lives each day. We will especially miss Pua, the noseless but strong mother, Uvimbe our alpha female, Masai, who fell from the top but is hanging in there and of course, beloved Babu Kidole – the wise one.

We still hope to post here on the blog from time to time with interesting findings from our data and updates on the progress of Msalise Primary School and its students. We also hope to be back in Udzungwas in the near future to continue research on Sanje mangabeys, as well as other important conservation issues facing this biodiversity hotspot.

Baadaye Kidogo,

Grainne & David

Sanje mangabey male

Masai, one of our beloved male Sanje mangabeys