We arrived back to TBI Turkwel Campus from Nariokotome on Tuesday, tired but happy. The day was spent resting and preparing for the final presentations in our archeology module. By Wednesday, everyone was back to full gear and we spent most of the day working on our presentations and the final tasks of the module.
The presentations went great as the students covered a wide range of interesting subjects, making deep dives into more niche topics such as the origins of fire, evidence of early weapons, first burials, origins of arts, raw material sourcing and the biomechanics involved in stone tool production. Afterwards, Prof. Harmand gave us valuable insights on professional presentation and pointed out areas of improvement. Later on, everyone prepared for the very final exam which we completed successfully on Friday morning. As part of the TBI Field school tradition, the afternoon was spent in the slaughterhouse area where we participated in goat butchering. We used the stone tools we had created earlier in Nariokotome during the knapping exercise. Everyone enjoyed the activity which helped us appreciate the early hominins’ abilities and efforts in technological invention and food processing.
The last ten weeks in the Origins field school have truly had many amazing experiences and encounters. From the first days in Nairobi to the last ones at TBI Turkwel, we have had a pleasure of engaging with and learning from brilliant experts from a variety of fields. These includes both our wonderful Professors, as well as TBIs always helpful and very talented Field Team.
As a group we have made great lifelong memories and learnt important skills. Every student most certainly has had their personal highlights and takeaways as well.
Here are some reflections on our experience from the authors.
“The theme that was consistently recurrent in all modules, for me, is that we are and always have been a part of the natural world…No matter how disconnected from it we might seem today, our origins and fate are undeniably tied to it.” ~Stephen
“The whole process research teams go through in the harsh environments of Turkana proceeding any discoveries and published papers covered in journals like Nature requires patience, resilience and determination.” ~Tom
“And I personally have learned that beauty is found in the most unexpected places, as long as you look closely enough. A desert may seem barren and desolate to an outsider, but once you’ve seen kids play football in the fields here or a lone desert rose blooming brightly in the dry bush, you’ll never view it the same again.” ~Onni
“What an amazing experience this was for me. TBI is a special place. I don’t think I would have gained the same experience anywhere else. Thankful for everything I learned and all the friends I made.” ~Flor
“My stay at the Turkana Basin Institute was a life changing experience that was made even more incredible by a spectacular staff, some really amazing new friends, and unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.” ~Amelia
“Getting to learn about field work and experiences out of classroom was the most interesting part for me.” ~Patricia
“An amazing experience with great people, and enlightening for me about what I want to do.” ~Ian
“The TBI Field school was an eye opener for me because not only did I get to experience the geology and learn about the cradle of humankind and technology, but also got to interact with brilliant professors and students alike.” ~Owich
Our departure will be an emotional one for sure. We would like to thank all our instructors in the different modules, the resourceful field team from TBI, the attentive staff at the Turkwel research center in general and our amazing, kind, funny and outstanding field school director Medina in particular.
Our graduation ceremony took place at TBI-Nairobi offices and was presided over by the TBI CEO Dr. Dino J. Martins and Dr. Louise Leakey who gave speeches to mark the end of the field school. Together with the Field school director Medina Lubisia, they congratulated the students for their hard work and accomplishment.
We wish the graduates all the best in their future endeavors!