My name is Zach Laubach and through a fortunate sequence of events I have I arrived in Nairobi, Kenya on Saturday the 12th of March, to work as a Research Assistant studying spotted hyenas. By fortunate I mean for a number of reasons: the applicability of this experience in terms career aspirations (I am interested in the behavioral ecology of large mammalian carnivores), the timing of this opportunity fell neatly into place in both my academic and personal life, and I found my way onto a plane that actually landed in the appropriate destination (though I’d just as soon not hash out these particulars unaided by a cold drink!) Aside from a few airline hassles, the flight went through without hitch and I was picked up by another Research Assistant (RA) working on the Hyena project. Sunday we went around and began an errand list which was completed today. These chores included buying groceries and supplies, acquiring research clearance from Kenya Wildlife Service, and car maintenance.
About the garage where the car got fixed… turns out the owner is a 50 something year old British guy named Ian. This is a guy I like and will enjoy any opportunity to spend time with. The proud owner of three female English Black Labs, Ian is an avid bird hunter, dog trainer, and sit back and drink beer kind of story teller. Apparently there are two hunting seasons for birds in Kenya, spring and fall. Ian has even duck hunted in Africa… though significant bodies of water limit the opportunities, if located these hot spots have tons of ducks and a few often irritated hippos. This came about after I saw some paintings of dogs retrieving ducks in Ian’s house, and I ventured to mention Gun (my Chesapeke Bay Retriever). Needless to say this guy’s stories were tireless, and I think his reluctance to let us go only began to wane after we had set up a tentative time to continue the discussion over beer and photos from First Flight (our duck hunting club back in Michigan).