I am a young Photographer from Cape Cod/Boston, Ma. armed with a Fulbright Scholarship and a Canon 5D Mark II. For 10 months I will living in Arusha, Tanzania working with various research projects and NGO's to make a documentary on human/wildlife conflict.


Goodbye Tanzania...for now!

Well, 10 months has flown by... I leave Tanzania the day after tomorrow!!  Of course I am very excited to see my family, friends & boyfriend, but I am very sad to be leaving such a beautiful place just after I have become used to calling it home! It's the first time I have lived abroad in my life.

view from Haria Hotel rooftop, Moshi
 Its very strange to relocate, adjust, make friends, establish relationships and then leave!? It's hard to leave when I have no guarantee of when I will be coming back... But my time here has been inspirational to say the least! To have 10 months of time dedicated to photography, video, crafting, exploring, sewing, cooking, learning and living is quite a luxury which I will forever be grateful for.
painting in the Hindu Crematorium, Moshi

The past weeks I have been finishing up shooting for the Shanga Shangaa Ltd. documentary, visiting Moshi on the weekends, packing and giving things away.. (to make room for more fabric!)  Jaala is all set with her puppy passport and crate training, I just have to get her through the airport!
Jaala when she was just 6 or 7 weeks old!
The Fulbright has granted me a once in a lifetime opportunity and hopefully encouraged my professional career. Now the hunt begins for a job that will hopefully lead to a full time career in photography or video (*ahem Nat.Geo)... or possibly back to school for another degree?? (gulp!)
waterfalls near Moshi
 For now, I am looking forward to seeing my family, organizing THOUSANDS of photos and trying to recap and share this experience over the course of the holidays! ♥


One last safari

4 weeks and counting until the end of my 10 month Fulbright grant. This year has flown by and I feel like I am just getting started! Last week, I sold my Escudo and my lovely research tent :( so I took it as an opportunity to spring for one last proper safari. I met some new friends through my neighbors who were all booked for a 5 day safari to Tarangire, Serengeti & Ngoronoro Crater and invited me to join them!

We camped for 5 nights to the sounds of lions, hyenas, zebras & buffalo around our tents, woke up early for game drives and saw a lot of amazing wildlife! No matter how many times I go on safari, seeing elephants or giraffes or any African wildlife in person is a deeply moving experience.

Get ready for safari!!!! This industry is very funny to me, people get all geared up in their khaki cargoes, hiking boots and bucket hats just to sit in the car all day! I go in jeans & flip flops..
Sleepy leopard in TarangireRed & Yellow BarbetElephants against the iconic Baobab trees of TarangireLions underneath perfectly shaped Acacia tree in the Serengeti

Topi & a JackrabbitSunrise Balloon over SerengetiMale & Female Lion during mating seasonyoung HyenaBaboon in a Yellow AcaciaSunrise over the Simba Campsite, Ngorongoro HighlandsFlamingos in the alkaline lake inside the craterZebra dust bathvery young lion cubs in the craterexhausted mamaHippos & white egrets against the crater forestYoung maleRare glimpse of a Rhino in the distance


Pangani, Day 5 & 6

The rest of the weekend, we relaxed, swam and wandered along the beautiful Pangani beach. In my opinion, The "Swahili Coast" is home to some of the most gorgeous semi-remote beaches in the world. While property on the coast is going fast, tourist development is still relatively low and quiet, deserted beaches can still be found. At Peponi, simple cottages of humble resorts and a small fishing village are the only sign of inhabitants.We walked past the village to the cove at the end of the beach where we sat all day, painting, drawing, reading and swimming. A group of young tourists like ourselves is hard to ignore in a small village and in the afternoon when the tide was out, a group of kids wandered over to see what we were up to. Tanzanian kids are generally, very quiet and shy, but obviously very curious about the Western world. It is not uncommon to find yourself surrounded by wide-eyed children, touching you and examining your possessions like you are a tourist attraction yourself. With our collective Kiswahili, we soon had the group of very quiet, inquisitive kids coloring, painting, running and flipping all over the beach!Tanzania is famous for its National Parks and booming safari industry. The "Northern Circuit" of parks is the most traveled area in all of Tanzania, with Zanzibar probably being the close 2nd for tourism traffic. The Eastern Arc Mountains and the Swahili Coast are some of the most amazing places in terms of bio and ecological diversity, yet remain relatively undisturbed from the regular tourist exploitation. Hopefully, these areas remain this way in order to preserve the last of their precious, natural resources and wildlife.

For more info on conservation projects on the Swahili Coast & Eastern Arc Mountains, check out these sites!

http://www.seasense.org/ for info on endangered marine life conservation

http://www.africanrainforest.org/ for projects and partners of the African Rainforest Conservancy


Pangani, Day 4

We woke up in the morning to heavy rain. We waited for it to ease up, slowly packed our soggy campsite into the Escudo and carefully made our way down the muddy roads to Muheza. We hung around Muheza for lunch and wandered around the market looking for fenesi; probably the strangest fruit I have ever seen in my life, but definitely the most delicious. Our friend, Eva, was on her way from Arusha by bus to join us for a weekend in Pangani. She hopped off the bus in Muheza just as we were finishing lunch, we found half of a fenesi in the market and headed for the coast!

Straight from Muheza, there is a shortcut to Pangani so that you don't have to go all the way into Tanga town and then down the coast. The road was lovely and sandy, taking us past tiny villages and sisal fields lined with palm trees. These roads that connect Tanga, Pangani and the surrounding towns are all rough roads dominated by men & boys carting supplies on bicycles. Most of the time, chores like fetching water, oil, or firewood are up to the children. There is nothing more humbling than seeing an 8 year old boy riding an oversized bicycle carrying 2 buckets of water, a jug of cooking oil and his sister on the back...here, kids have more responsibility by their 5th birthday than I do at 25... We continued down the sandy road, flying past groups of children yelling at us as we blew by in a cloud of dust.

Jacqui had visited a place called Peponi, (paradise) which had a great restaurant and campsites on the beach. Seafood, cheap campsites and lovely beaches were exactly what we were all looking for, so Peponi was an obvious choice! We arrived at dark (again) and set up our glorious campsite. My research tent was too tall to fit under the thatched banda, so we could only raise the center poles about 2/3 of the way up. Since our campsite was literally 50 feet from the beach, we had to tie every corner so it wouldn't blow away! Sitting inside the tent, with the double doors unzipped, facing the ocean, the breeze inflated the tent like a balloon and it reminded me of sitting under the parachute in gym class!

The next day we woke up and dove into the fenesi. One of the best things about Tanzania is the abundance of amazing, fresh fruit and especially because of the number of completely foreign fruits you would never see in the States. Fenesi, aka jackfruit is a monstrous, lumpy, spikey, watermelon-sized fruit that grows on trees, believe it or not, and gets up to around 20 kgs! We bought 1/2 a fenesi (for 3,000tsh / $1.50) and it hardly fit inside 2 plastic bags. You can't just cut a fenesi into pieces and serve it up, the only edible part is the bright yellow, sweet and juicy part around the seeds inside. To get to those parts, you have to dig through the stringy pulp and pull the seed pods out, but only after you have coated your hands in oil to avoid getting covered in the fenesi's tacky glue- like sap. It sounds like quite an ordeal, but it is completely worth it. The fruit it sweet like banana or a pineapple, but there is NOTHING to describe the texture. Its meaty but not tough, juicy, but you could still throw a few in your pocket without making a mess. It is by far the weirdest fruit I have had, but so far, the most amazing.After filling 3 bowls of fenesi, we got ready to go out on the dhow to snorkel around the coal reefs. We rented masks & flippers, ordered a packed lunch and waded out to the boat. We sailed maybe 2k offshore, strapped our masks and flippers on and waddled into the Indian ocean. Beautiful corals, angelfish, parrot fish and little ciclids were everywhere, with the occasional black spikey urchins and bright blue, lanky, 8 legged starfish. We swam around in the warm turquoise water, abandoning our snorkels and diving down to get closer looks at the reef. All of a sudden, one of the crewmen, Selemani, surfaced yelling "pweza!!" (octopus!!!!) I had one foot on the ladder of the boat, ready to take a little break, but when I heard PWEZA I screamed like a kid and dove right back in to see my first live octopus. I swam over as fast as I could, but he had already found a hole in the coral to hide in. From above, all you could see was bright red-orange squish and a couple white suckers on the ends of tentacles. Selemani went up to the dhow to retrieve a long, metal spear and dove back down to where the octopus was hiding. He hovered a few feet over the coral and shot the spear into the hole. A huge cloud of black ink burst from the coral as he went back up for a 2nd spear. He pulled the 1st spear out of the coral and used the 2nd one to secure the writhing octopus as he headed for the surface. Once we were all back on the boat, the octopus was plopped in a bucket, which quickly filled with ink. It was sad to watch such an amazing animal get speared through the head and then die in a bucket, but octopus are commercially fished on the Tanzanian coast and get a good price at the daily fish markets. (they are also delicious!) I tried searching for articles on octopus fishing in Tanzania, to see if it was regulated at all or if species were being threatened, this was the best article I found.After our exciting snorkeling trip, we ate our bacon & banana sandwiches (ohyes) in the boat anchored off the beach and then waded into shore for some cold drinks and look for someone to cook our octopus!That night we had a feast of fish and octopus, locally cooked by some mama in the village since the guys in the kitchen of Peponi wouldn't cook it for us! We ate blue fish cooked in coconut sauce, grilled octopus, fresh crispy salads, coconut rice, pineapple salsa and all sorts of delicious sauces on a picnic shuka outside our tent by kerosene lantern light.It was a lot more delicious than it looked!


Amani Forest Reserve, Day 3

The next day we got in the car and headed deeper into the mountains to hike the Kwamkoro forest, an untouched, first growth forest. During German colonialism in Tanzania, the East Usambaras forests were cleared for coffee, tobacco, sisal, rubber and quinine. Coffee plantations failed due to soil condition and commercial logging became the main industry. During this time, the Germans also established much of the reserved areas in the mountains and by 1942, during the British colonial era, the reserved areas had doubled in size. Today, the Amani Forest Reserve covers more than 20,000 acres. If you want to read more about the rich history of the Usambara mountains, there is plenty of information on the Amani website;

So we drove about 12k towards the Kwamkoro forest, through the beautiful, steep fields of the Eutco Tea Plantation. It is difficult to convey just how stunning the tea fields are and it was even more difficult to photograph them. Rows and rows of neatly planted crops encircled the peaks of every hill. Driving along the narrow winding roads, with walls of crops on either side and jungle all around, it felt like we had all of a sudden left Tanzania and were driving along rice patties in Vietnam.We approached a small house with nothing but a concrete bathroom stall outside. We parked the Escudo and walked up the trail into the forest. At first, the forest seemed no different than the one we hiked through the day before, but subtle differences slowly emerged. There were different ferns in this forest, taller, more feathered ferns that hung over the pathways creating a lovely, diffused light on the ground. The trees were clearly older, taller and unlike the jungle from the day before, it was their low creaking and groaning that we heard over the sounds of birds and insects. The path was obviously less traveled, with a thick layer of oversized, fallen leaves that made it feel like autumn until you looked back up at the glowing, green canopy above. This forest seemed quieter and we walked along the overgrown path listening to the wind and the crunch of our footsteps.A small path on the left side led us downhill to a small creak spotted with moss covered stones and rich, red mud. We continued gradually uphill to the viewpoint, where it felt like we had an aerial view of Korogwe town below. We ate our packed lunch, watched the hornbills fly back and forth and slowly made our way back down the path before the storm clouds rolled in overhead.