An excerpt from the interview with Stephanie Fuchs
Stephanie Fuchs, originally from Germany, first stepped foot on the African continent in 2008, when her dissertation led her to Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe to study local elephant populations. Though, her love affair with Africa, had started well before she landed. Since she was a little girl, she could remember having a deep love for animals and nature, and always dreamed of one day seeing the beautiful wildlife with her own two eyes before they became extinct.
It was this very passion that led her to study biology and conservation and eventually Africa. In 2010, after finishing her degree in Bath, England, she returned to Africa, and volunteered in Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania. Here she helped survey large mammal movements, as well as working with local conservation and anti-poaching efforts.
After a year at Selous, Stephanie headed to Mafia Island, where on the first day, unbeknown to her, she met her future husband.
If you were to ask her about the moment she fell in love with Africa, she is quick to say that it is the beauty of Africa, with its rawness, its people and its diversity.
“I was fascinated and in awe of the continent and its people, pretty much at first contact.”
She recalls a day when she was working with a game ranger on a lion conservation project in Zimbabwe. As he was driving her back to her residence, the driver also gave all the local workers a ride to where they lived.
“It was an exhilarating and eye-opening moment, driving through the African bush late at night, and then ending up at the homes of the local workers.”
She knew right there and then that she wanted to know more, she had to talk to them – hear their side of the story, what made them tick.
Once she had completed her three months volunteer work on Mafia Island, she had formed a deep connection with her new Maasai boyfriend, and so the decision to stay in Tanzania was an easy one. Africa makes her feel alive every single day, and question things she have always taken for granted.
She has truly found her happy place, deep in Tanzania, in the Maasai Steppe, with her Maasai warrior husband and young son. Africa is her life, her love, her heart, and her soul. It means everything to her, and she knows that of all the places to live in the world, she couldn’t imagine herself living anywhere else.
“You will see things more beautiful than you could have ever imagined, and it will make you see everything – yourself, your life, and the world – in a completely different light. Africa welcomes you with open arms, no matter where you are from or what you have done, it only judges you by the quality of your soul and not by what you wear or how you speak.”