There will be times, when the research for your Masters' degree will take a strange turn and you will end up traveling hundreds of kilometres on horseback to collect information.
This was the case for Barbara Seele, M-student at Stellenbosch University's Faculty for AgriSciences who travelled on horseback to interview Mongolian pastoralists in order to learn more about their use of medicinal plants.
Mongolia, a country between China and Russia, has a population of about 2.8 million people. The country is especially known for its rivers and streams, majestic mountains, and stretching grasslands. About a third of the residents of the country follow are nomadic livestock herders.
Barbara obtained her M-degree on Monday (14 March) at SU's March Graduation Ceremony. Her research focussed on how the nomadic Mongolian herders use medicinal plants for their livestock and how this knowledge can be protected. (This research is relevant to South Africa where researchers are increasingly focussing on the use of medicinal plants.
Barbara says after participating in an endurance ride in Mongolia, and seeing how the people there used plants to treat livestock against diseases, she was very interested in going back to learn more about this.
"It is a somewhat unusual topic and I would not have been able to achieve it without the support of my supervisors."
CAPTION: Barbara Seele, trekked hundreds of kilometres on horseback in Mongolia in order to complete the research for her Masters degree. PHOTO: Hannes Wiese.