Friday, October 25, 2013


Took me two skewers to figure out where the skewers came from....recycled bicycle tire spokes. The meat was fantastic.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mara River Water Users Association, 2013 Thiess International Riverprize Winner!

Congratulations to the Mara River Water Users Association (MRWUA) on winning the 16th annual Thiess International Riverprize!

The Mara River Water Users Association (MRWUA) is a community-based water resources management organization, with the primary objectives of 1) promoting the protection and conservation of the Mara River Catchment area, 2) supporting the sustainable and efficient use of water, and 3) assisting relevant authorities with water resources management and issuance of water use permits and water conflict resolution. Their primary office is based in Mulot, Kenya, on the banks of the Amala River, but there are a number of sub-catchment groups located throughout the basin. The MRWUA has worked closely with Kenyan Water Resources Management Authority, WWF, USAID, Songoroi Ltd., and other NGOs and partners in the region to accomplish an impressive amount of conservation activities, including protecting 40 km of riverbank, educating 1,000 farmers about land and water conservation, and protecting 40 springs.

The Thiess International Riverprize is awarded by the International RiverFoundation. They have been awarding this prize for 15 years, but the Mara is the first African river to receive the award! Stuart Bunn, a member of the judging panel, said,

"With a clear vision and in anticipation of potential conflict arising over scarce water resources, the community based Mara River Water Users Association overcame significant challenges and successfully collaborated with farmers, community groups, NGOs, consultants and many other stakeholders to implement the Mara River Environmental Management Initiative."

The prize not only comes with international recognition for the incredible work the MRWUA has done in the basin, but also a large grant for the MRWUA to continue and build upon their work. It also includes a grant for a "twinning" project, in which the MRWUA can help start up and mentor a river conservation project in another country.

We are so proud of the MRWUA and all their accomplishments, and we look forward to sharing more of their story with you!


A few days ago we had a minor breakdown.  It was the day before I was scheduled to go to Tanzania.  Which...makes it a bit more of a stressful breakdown.

One of the main support bolts came loose for one of the tie-rods.  It fell out somewhere along the way from Talek to Emarti.  We noticed it pretty quickly because the steering became erratic just after Aitong.  

We made a quick call to Lerijin and two of his brothers came out from Aitong on a pikipiki (motorcycle) and helped us get on our way.  Funny....because their father, Lokakwar, helped us replace a bushing on that bolt a week prior.  At that time, I remember telling him, "I have loctite, please put it on the bolt so it doesn't come loose."  And he replied, "We don't need loctite, I'm going to double nut it!".  

I snapped a quick picture to illustrate how Amanda was making good use of our breakdown by filtering samples in the middle of a cow herd while we were working on the truck.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Camp Baboons

Baboons are pretty cute on video...especially the young ones.  They're not cute when they steal a bag of flour from you as you're trying to make they did to me last week.

Here is short video of a young baboon catching a ride on his mother's back.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

River of Maggots

While sampling in the Mara River, we found a huge "bloom" of maggots floating downstream from the area in the river where all the carcasses have been rotting.  It was an amazingly disgusting sight... but also very interesting.

In the following picture, look closely at the water.  What are all those little white dots floating in the river?  

Here is another picture....a bit closer shot.  What are they?  What could they possibly be?  

That's right.  They're maggots.  Thousands of them... floating downstream to Tanzania.

Here is a short video of it.  I tried to capture it as best I could with my phone camera.

More on this to come soon....

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Camp Day

Days like today, are necessary.  Today was a Camp Day.  A day we stay in camp and tend to everything that we've neglected for the last week.

I'm amazed with all we got done today...
  • oil change for the Land Rover
  • oil filter change for the Land Rover
  • fuel filter change for the Land Rover
  • Geemi spent 3 hours cleaning the interior and exterior of the Land Rover (I didn't recognize it when he was done!)
  • 4 hours of computing statistics for our research on the computer (until the battery died)
  • drying the last week of sediment samples in the solar oven
  • cleaning the "lady cave" prior to Amanda's arrival, so she'll never know we were there
  • making bagels for the upcoming week (including pesto bagel pizzas for dinner!)
  • cleaning sample equipment with deionized water
  • going through the previously downloaded footage from the game camera
And with that...I leave you with video of a HUGE elephant tusking our game camera in camp.

No time for laundry or showers yet.  If you're planning a visit to camp, come by after Friday.  :)