As the fall semester draws to an end, the few of us that are fortunate enough to have early finals can move our attention towards next semester. While for most of us that means building up body fat over winter break in order to make it through the Goshen winter, some of our peers are set to head off on Sun ‘n Sweat Term, more commonly known as SST.This spring’s units are going to either Peru or Tanzania. I’m an environmental science major and someone who has traveled to both Peru and East Africa with Goshen College groups, and I feel like it is my duty (don’t laugh) to inform our intrepid travelers about the fantastic beasts that can be found in both regions.
After a long day of travel, our friends will be out and about in a strange land where the sky is blue and the squirrels aren’t black, so there’s definitely going to be some culture shock. With their eyes open to this brave new world of wildlife, here’s what they can expect to see.
Dog (Peru): Before I went to Peru, the list of creepy, hairless animals I knew of began and ended with Pitbull, and I was fine with that. But then I met a breed called the Peruvian Hairless. Let’s just say your average balding grandpa is better off…
Giraffe (Tanzania): Not to be confused with Paul Meyer-Reimer.
Dik-dik (Tanzania): Stop laughing. Dik-diks are actually small antelopes that like to eat trees.
Llama (Peru): Imagine an alternate universe where llamas rule the world. U.S. president Barack Ollama has just taken out wanted terrorist Osama Bin Llama, dealing a crippling blow to his group Al Paca. Next Ollama travels to Tibet to meet the wise sage of the Llamalayas, the Dalai Llama. These jokes write themselves folks.
Peter Wise (Tanzania): One of the most graceful savanna creatures, the Peter Wise can be distinguished from other savanna wildlife by its luscious hair, cackling laugh and tendency to fling rocks at anything that moves.
Pig (Peru): My best friend during service was a pig. I fed him every day, and he would let me scratch his belly. Then one day he bit my leg and sent me to the hospital for rabies shots. I taught my Spanish-speaking co-workers some of my favorite English swear words that day. And they say high school was dramatic.
Gigantic Spiders (Peru and Tanzania): There’s no escaping it, the tropics grow bigger spiders than humble Goshen does. They’re more colorful too. Sleep well!
Kudu (Tanzania): A rogue Jedi Knight who turned to the Dark Side and brought about the Clone Wars. Oh wait, maybe that’s Dooku.
Monkey Butts (Tanzania): Obnoxious enough to make even a Kardashian blush, monkey butts combine the in-your-face advertising of a used-car salesman with the raw sexuality of a sassy poodle. Have fun on Google Images.
Guinea Pig (Peru): They are everybody’s favorite stop at the petting zoo, and good news: Peruvians also love guinea pigs! My elementary school friends would dress up these adorable, googly-eyed pets with cute little vests and top hats. In Peru, guinea pigs wear little sprigs of cilantro and a warm chili-lime sauce, which is really only adorable in a “You’re so cute I could eat you” kind of way.
So hopefully that’s a helpful primer for the folks going on SST next semester. Enjoy experiencing the diversity of life in all its forms while we throw snowballs at squirrels all winter. See you in April!