Work and Play…Specifically Monkey Business

 

Today, I had a fun filled day with both academic fun (for me) and personal fun. The State University of Zanzibar has several campuses. We live a few minutes’ walk from the Vuga campus. The campus I was on last year and will be teaching at is Tunguu and is 30-45 minutes by car from Stone Town. Keith will probably be teaching at a campus that is 10-15 minutes by car from Stone Town in the opposite direction, but not as far as where I will go. Luckily, we were at the Vuga campus, so it was an easy walk in the morning.

The faculty of the School of Education for SUZA are very hard working and got together on Saturday to work on the program of study and courses for the newly proposed Bachelor’s of Education in Early Childhood Education. The title of the degree is still under discussion, but they working on the structure, courses, and course titles. After several hours of discussion, the current list of courses were divided among the participants to develop draft syllabi for the next meeting. With the structure draft and syllabi drafts, they plan to consult local stakeholders for input. This was very informative for me to learn about how their program development process is similar and different from ours and to see some of the local and cultural considerations in designing the new degree. First and foremost, early childhood education as a formal teaching profession is relatively new, and formal education or even programs outside of family, friend, and neighbor care for children under 4 is also very new and limited at this time. But, their goal is to address international trends and the work is very aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Education and specifically providing SDG 4.2 to provide high quality early childhood education.

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After a morning of work and some lunch, Keith and I headed out with our friend and colleague Umayra to see Jozani Forest. This was Keith’s first time in Jozani Forest and first time outside of Stone Town, since we arrived a week ago. His only other journey was the car ride in from the airport, but given that it was dark and 3am, I don’t think it gave him much of a picture of Zanzibar outside of Stone Town. We were a little late getting started for our journey to have lots of time in Jozani, but we knew we would be coming back both on our own and with different visitors we are expecting. Nevertheless, it was still really special. We got to see both the Red Colobus monkeys that only live on Zanzibar and then the Skye’s monkeys that live in various places in East Africa.

 

A baby colobus monkey

A baby colobus monkey

They were so close to us, within 4-5 feet both next to us and over our heads. We had a very nice guide who gave us lots of information about the two species of monkeys. I listened to the guide and asked questions and Keith took photos (check out his awesome photos from Jozani at www.kamacdonaldphoto.com). He focused on getting excellent photos and when we got home I told him all the information I could remember about monkeys.

 

Inside Jozani Forest

Inside Jozani Forest

 

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A family of Sykes’ Monkeys

 

According to our guide, this monkey is six months old because it is still little, but has its red color on the back, which is not present for the first 3-4 months.

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