It has been amazing to be here in this city!
When I came here my focus was mostly on the Ecosystem Health Training course [Chunde and three other Tanzanian field conservationists came to the zoo for three weeks of conservation training through the Wildlife Without Borders program]. But after some time I discovered that there were a lot of things to learn, includes the cultures and different lifestyles in this city. The city has so many different people with different cultures, and seeing them living in harmony is amazing. The course itself was so well organized, and the instructors were kind and nice to us. I’ve learned a lot of new ideas and techniques to work with when I go back to Africa, including new management skills, data management, lab techniques, how to do a proper necropsy and the different behavioral studies for different species, just to mention a few. I also learned how a fecal sample can be so useful in behavioral studies as well as reproductive studies.
Chunde in front of the Lincoln Park Zoo gates.
Clockwise from microscope: Chunde, Gombe Field Officer Juma Baanyiqwa and Gombe Veterinarian Iddi Lipende in the lab with Lincoln Park Zoo collaborator Tom Gillespie, a parasitologist with Emory University.
The knowledge and experience I got here will help me and my colleagues in the field to improve our daily activities. There is a lot of potential for sharing this knowledge. As I mentioned earlier, I had the opportunity to learn different cultures from the people in this city. One of the cultural differences I learned is how people love and take good care of their pets (dogs and cats). People here are time conscious, and they are committed to their activities, e.g. zookeeping, and teaching. Even pedestrians walk with purpose. One of the big things I’ll miss when I go back home to Africa is the “Love” I got from the colleagues here, especially Colleen, Dominic, Anna Czupryna, Rachel Santymire, Leah, Mollie, everyone in the Annex and Conservation & Science buildings, and everyone at the zoo who we had an opportunity to meet and work with. Just to be frank, I’m going to miss that Love. The people at the zoo were so kind to us and so helpful all the time. “A home is a place where when you have to go there they have to take you in.” So to me Chicago is my home away from home. Chunde Biggambo, Field Officer, Serengeti Health Initiative