Thursday, March 28, 2013

Back on the road

Sort of... we have to push start the car every time we stop. At least we're making progress again.

We just took our last sample for this week so no more stops in our near future (unless we break down in a different way). Here is James, preparing our homemade sampler for that last sample from the Ruvu Morogoro bridge.

Fake parts

Still broken down. Mechanic never came last night. The vehicle driver has been working on fixing it only to just realize the parts he purchased were fake.

Wish I could help but I don't know anything about land cruisers. Too bad it's not a land rover.

Watching Nikki Minaj while we wait.

A Big Thanks

A big thanks goes out to the four men who helped fix our telemetry kit at the Purungat Bridge two weeks ago.  It is not completely fixed yet but these guys helped me break up the old concrete and lay another 30 meters of new concrete over the data transmission cable from the telemetry modem to the water quality sonde.  You can see some of the repairs in the background of the picture (just behind the two guys on the left side of the picture).  

Nga'nga is the head engineer for the Mara Conservancy (white shirt).  Thanks a million.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Bad Idea

I thought it was a bad idea at the time.  I still think it is a bad idea.  But, we did actually make it over this washed out bridge last week.  

Oh yea, in case you're following the posts...we're still broken down but we're at least at a "guest house" for the evening.  A mechanic is coming in this evening from Dar es Salaam to see what's up with the vehicle.  Hopefully we'll be moving tomorrow morning.  

Now we're broken down.

It has been a long week.


But not horribly so...

A lizard drinking tree sap?

Here you go, photographic proof.

I didn't realize they drank tree sap.  Sorry for the blurry photo.  I took it with my camera phone as a storm was getting ready to unleash on us.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


If you haven't caught on yet...I'm currently in Tanzania helping out with a sediment investigation in the Ruvu Basin.  The Ruvu is the primary water supply for Dar es Salaam.  Increasing levels of sediment are costing the government (and Coca Cola) increasing levels of money to treat the water.  I've been asked to essentially replicate what I did for my Master's Thesis in the Ruvu Basin; Determine the primary sources of sediment.

I've been traveling around the basin with a team composed of a water officer from the Wami-Ruvu Basin Water Office, a retired officer from the Wami-Ruvu Basin Office who is still heavily involved, a student from the University of Dar es Salaam (USDM), and a water resources officer from the iWASH Program (GLOWS).  It has been a great deal of fun traveling through the bush with this team.  We've had the opportunity to cover almost the entire basin (> 18,000 km2!) in two weeks.

A few nights ago, I emailed Amanda and told her about a place I stayed one evening.  I don't think I had many good things to say about it...but it had been a really long day.  We were all very hot and sweaty and I don't believe we ate breakfast or lunch that day.  We rolled into this "guest house" very late in the evening.  I was excited because this was the first place in days that I had access to the internet through my phone.  They made us grilled chicken and french fries for dinner.  They didn't make enough so I ended up giving my chicken and half my fries to the USDM student.  I didn't need it...I was well nourished, they had cold beer.  Anyway, I emailed her and probably didn't give her a nice impression of the place.

Well, on to today.

We spent about 4 hours stuck in the mud.  In three separate places.

Here is a picture of James, the UDSM student, testing to see how deep the "lake" is that we have to drive through.  We ended up not trying to drive through it.  Mr. Lema, the retired water officer, hopped on a motor bike and traveled the remaining 20 km to take the water sample we were after.  

Here is a picture of James and our driver, Dickson, discussing the situation.  

This is our second major stuck situation.  A few villagers came by to help. 

This is our third major stuck situation.  Mr. Lema is trying to push a rock up under the tire to try and get traction.  Didn't help.  A bunch of villagers ended up coming by and they helped to push us up the road.  

So, we were stuck three times over 4 hours.  Not unusual for the wet season.  Well, last night, the guest house we stayed at didn't even have cold beer, grilled chicken or french fries.  After being stuck for hours today, I'm very happy to be back at that original "guest house" that I complained about to Amanda last week.  My perspective has changed.  This place is great!

Friday, March 22, 2013