Gorongosa Day 6

Stephanie Hanes and Stephen Sapienza, for the Pulitzer Center
Gorongosa, Mozambique

So a question from St. Louis:
"I was reading about your time over in Mozambique and I was wondering if you could describe what exactly you are seeing and how it is affecting you physically and emotionally."

Physically: You caught us at the end of a very long day. I just asked Steve, and he says, "I'm pretty wiped." The roads are terrible, and he was the designated driver today – we went up to Gorongosa Mountain to look at how the park is trying to reduce deforestation caused by farming at upper altitudes, a practice that threatens the park's ecosystem. (This is actually a really interesting topic, and big point of conflict and questions here – touches on human rights and environment and so on – so more on that later.) It's quite hot, and we're getting pretty gross hiking through fields and wading through rivers and such.

But overall, it's not as tough as a lot of reporting trips – we have running water in our bungalows, and food, so it's not that bad.

Emotionally: I think you're probably asking about how it feels to see poverty and environmental devastation. A lot of times it's frustrating – especially because people here tend to be so amazingly warm and smart and open, and I realize that a lot of people in the U.S. see them as clichés. They're not – they're much more complex and with it than westerners give them credit for being. The landscape is beautiful; and we both feel lucky to see this part of the world. Highly recommended.

More details on what we're seeing later!