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!

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