The last morning began like the previous ones – with a good breakfast. After enjoying our breakfast, we went to the research station’s lovely backyard to plant the Guava tree Petri had got as a gift from us the previous evening during the course party. Petri gave a short but meaningful speech before the tree planting, thanking Robert, our minibus driver, and us assistants who got to be the ones to plant the Guava tree.
As a response to Petri’s talk, Robert also gave a small speech to all of us seemingly from his heart. After the planting, the station foreman Mwadime gave his delightful speech as well. Overall, the atmosphere was relaxed, and everyone seemed to be thankful for their experiences.
There is a tradition of planting trees in the research station in a memory of events and people. This tree is meant to be a long-lasting memory of us students and this field course to Petri and the station staff. I certainly hope that this tree will grow as large as the tree planted next to it. At least for now it looks well!
The students who got to leave for Finland had packed their belongings and were getting ready for their long drive back to Nairobi. Me and Christa were going to stay due to our own fieldwork for our theses.
Because of the long drive ahead of them, the students about to leave were doing a fun group exercise to stretch. Then it was time for them and Petri, Enrico, and Gonzalo to say their goodbyes, head to the minibus, and drive out of the station’s gate.
I got to plan my following week of TLS fieldwork to be done in Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary with Eduardo and Matheus, while Christa was doing her fieldwork in Ngangao forest.
For me, the excitement of being in Taita Hills did not fade during our remaining days there!
All photos: Hanna Hirvonen