Podcast: Our unexpected African adventure to meet Jane Goodall & the chimpanzees

In a wonderful and surprising turn of events, my wife Cheryl and I were given the amazing opportunity to travel to Tanzania to meet Jane Goodall, meet the wild chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream National Forest, and witness first-hand the work of the Jane Goodall Institute. In this series of podcasts, we share our memorable journey.
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Getting Ready to Go To Africa with Alan & Cheryl Greene

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In this episode: We pack for the trip of a lifetime -- to meet Jane Goodall and the Gombe chimpanzees. We discuss how the unexpected trip came about, how we prepared, and what we're packing. If you've ever wondered what a doctor takes along for remote international travel, you don't want to miss this episode.
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Our Very Long Flight, Meeting a Lovebird & Walking through a Massive Doorway

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In this episode: We talk about our in-air adventures including the shift from San Francisco, through Zurich and emerging in Dar es Salaam. Along the way, we meet some very colorful characters and find some tiny sandwiches. I discuss a new study that explains why we find ourselves standing in a room asking "now what was it I came in here to get?" And scene.
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Spoiler Alert -- We Broke Alan!

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In this episode: We meet Freddy Kimaro, Executive Director of JGI Tanzania and Merlin van Lawick, one of Jane Goodall's grandsons. We visit Pugu Forest where we learn about the importance of eating together and we break Alan! Sadly, this doesn't bode well for the rest of the trip.
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Travel to Zanzibar Where Old Meets Very Very Old & Magic Happens

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In this episode: We made weight! There is no place on earth like Zanzibar. Alan meets “#1 professional”. Traveling with wildlife photographer and videographer Bill Wallauer and Kristin Moshe is like getting the director's cut on life. Dinner is a three-hour event. Jet lag hits while waiting. It was magical.
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Planting Trees in Zanzibar with Jane Goodall's Roots and Shoots

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In this episode: We join a Roots and Shoots club in Zanzibar and plant trees together and Cheryl has an epiphany. We venture into the heart of Zanzibar and have dinner under the stars. The electricity goes off, but it doesn't make a difference.
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Getting to Gombe Stream National Park & Learning about Tacare

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In today's episode: We travel by bus, plane, and boat to get to Gombe Stream National Park in time for sunset and the rising of a full moon. Along the way, we see beautiful turquoise water, the massive "empty" interior of Tanzania, and the African Great Lake of Tanganyika. We are introduced to Tacare – the Jane Goodall Institute's very successful community building and reforestation project and we meet world-renowned baboon researcher, Anton Collins.
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It's a good day to be a Chimp at Gombe Stream National Park

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In this episode: We visit another Tacare community and learn about what makes them successful. We spend the afternoon in the jungle with the current ruling chimp group, the "G" family. We find out how much like the Game of Thrones the jungle really is after bushwhacking our way through the dense undergrowth of the Gombe Stream National Park. Bill shares chimp insights that apply to us as we watch a mother and baby chimp play in the treetops. It's a good day to be a chimp.
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From Gombe to the Serengeti: Nzuri!

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In this episode: We leave Gombe Stream after an amazing experience -- "Being with the chimps was utterly otherworldly-magical and gave a deeper sense of what it means to be human." Travel in Africa remains exciting with an even smaller plane and airport. We almost miss the runway but get to see African wildlife from low-altitude as a result. Our new home in Buffalo Camp in the Serengeti has a 24/7 guard with an elephant gun (don't worry, no elephants are harmed). Cheryl struggles with her Swahili word for the day, but it's still Nzuri - a perfect day.
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Our first Safari in the Serengeti - Elephants, Zebras, and Wildebeests, Oh, My!

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In this episode: Rumbles in the night (elephants and Cheryl's tummy), a nine-hour, very bumpy safari with no bathrooms (thank you DiaResQ), and being part of the great Wildebeest migration. The vastness of the Serengeti during the day and the night sky brings home the place of humans on earth -- we are not the center of it all, even though we use a disproportionate amount of the earth's resources. The earth isn't here just for us!
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Seeing Our Place in the Universe: Night Safari & Talking Trees

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In this episode: We go on a night safari. We hear the sounds of nature, track nocturnal animals, and have an opportunity to lean into the night for a rare unobstructed look at the vastness of all that's beyond us. We share about giraffe stories and discuss the Internet of Plants.
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Meeting the people of the Serengeti, the Maasai

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In this Episode: We go on a Safari walk with a Massai guide. We learn about the medicinal qualities of plants and elephant dung. Yep, dung. We go to a Maasai Village and learn about becoming a Maasai warrior – this may not go well for the boy. And becoming a Maasai elder – this may not go well for his wife. We are exhausted, but we can rest when we get home, this is a once in a lifetime experience.
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An Evening with Jane Goodall at her Home in Dar es Salaam

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In this episode: We travel from the Serengeti back to Dar es Salaam -- via the scenic route. Followed by a lifetime-memorable evening at Jane Goodall's home where we learned first hand that she's the real deal! We talked politics, the environment, and her next big adventure. Spending our final time in Africa at Oyster Bay.
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Reflections on Our Time with Jane Goodall in Africa

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In this episode: We discuss what we learned during our time in Africa -- the balance of nature, the imbalance of Western culture, eating while on vacation, and the secret of NOT gaining weight (even when we ate as much amazing food as we wanted to eat).

For more information about the Jane Goodall Institute and their amazing work, visit my blog post Meeting Jane Goodall & The Chimpanzees.

Published on: July 03, 2017
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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