Sunday, December 8, 2013

Lost and Found

October and November were rough months for us, in which we were hit with a series of challenges that really set us back a bit. Unfortunately, this resulted in us getting a bit behind on our blog updates. I thought I would just give a brief recap here of some of the things we lost, and found, in the last few months.

  • Four of the six probes on our expensive water quality meter that gives us real-time data on the Mara River. They were damaged when the meter got stuck in the river during high flows, and we're still uncertain how we'll be able to afford to repair them. It turns out insurance doesn't cover water damage for something that's supposed to go in the water.
  • My laptop computer, which was stolen out of my hotel room while I was attending a meeting in Narok. Fortunately, all of my data was backed up in multiple locations, but this took some time (and money) to recover from.
  • A reasonable portion of my lower lip when I was bitten on the face by a dog, just after returning to the Mara with my new laptop. Hilariously, I had just been teaching Geemi the meaning of the slang word “bummer.” A flight to Nairobi, several hours of reconstructive surgery, five days in the hospital, and two weeks on a liquid/puree diet later, and I'm healing really well, thanks to the help of lots of wonderful friends and an amazing doctor.
  • Even more motivation for Chris to keep working on developing these amazing, low-cost, home-made water quality and quantity meters he has been building. They are relatively inexpensive and easily built, repaired and tweaked in the field. This kind of low-cost technology is really the key to revolutionizing water resources management in developing countries, where expensive parts and repairs aren't feasible.
  • A deep appreciation for my mother instilling in me the importance of backing everything up in multiple locations, and for my husband actually helping me do it. Also a deep appreciation for how fortunate we are to be able to usually shop for electronics in the US, where selection and price are hard to beat.
  • A profound realization of 1) the importance of good friends, who were ultimately the ones responsible for getting me into the hands of the best facial plastic surgeon in Kenya within 3.5 hours of the attack; 2) the incredible medical personnel and facilities available in Nairobi, where I had wonderful nurses and doctors taking great care of me; and 3) how lucky we are to be happy and healthy and able to do the work we love.
I have to admit this series of events left me feeling a bit vulnerable to all the dangers and challenges that surround and await us, but it also ultimately made me feel very blessed to be as fortunate as we have been... and maybe a little more wary of dogs. 

Anyway, we've been back in the field the last few weeks, busily trying to catch up from some of our unexpected delays, so we have lots to post about in the upcoming weeks. Fish sampling, leopards in camp, nutrient chemistry, and gambling on a DO crash... stay tuned!
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