Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving from the Mara

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, with lots of family, food and fun!!!

Every year the Mara Hyena Project research assistants and graduate students also get together for our own little Thanksgiving in the field to stuff our faces with good food. Of course getting the food, and cooking here is an adventure all in its own!

Pre-planning and getting some last minute work done

The little oven that could!
As you can see our stove and range are not huge, so we had to strategize. We made the pumpkin (butternut squash) pies the day before. Then in the morning we prepped the stuffing, and started the chicken stock. Once the chickens (graciously donated by our neighbor Ali from Balloon Safaris) went in the oven, we peeled the green beans (which just happened to be found at the local Masai market!?) and made some cream of mushroom sauce. Stuffing went in next utilizing the broiler pan, while we started the mashed potatoes. Last, Joseph fried us some onions to go on top of the green been casserole, which switched places with the stuffing in the oven, all while the gravy was made with the chicken drippings and chicken stock. We even had time to grill some extra chicken legs that would not fit in the oven.

Time to feast!
Once around the table, and in between bites, we shared our stories about all of our great experiences out here in the Mara, as well as some of the things we are thankful for. As usual Ali, who has been here for decades with her husband John, was able to top all of our crazy stories. However, combined the RAs and camp staff were able to hold their own with Mara "tale tales", and we eventually got down to talking about what we are thankful for this year. I won't share the more personal thanks, but the most common were for health and happiness of friends and family, and science in general. We also like to think that others in the Mara have their own thanks.

Balloon pilots like Riz here are thankful for tourists.
Mothers are thankful for new life
Hyenas are happy for one of the largest wildebeest migrations in a decade
"Fay" is thankful that the rains have come
"Legend" is probably just happy for lazy and warm sunny mornings
We could go on and on about what we think the people and animals may be thankful for, but in the end we are all thankful for the chance to live and work in the Masai Mara with great friends.

Happy Holidays from the Mara.

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