Sunday, August 7, 2016

Low cost sensor course in Tanzania

In August, Chris taught a course on low-cost sensor technology for the Tanzania water resource management authorities. This course was part of SELVA - the Serengeti Lake Victoria Sustainable Water Initiative for the Mara River - which is run by our friend and colleague Beth Anderson at FIU. Chris taught the course participants how to build low-cost water depth and water quality sensors using the open-source Arduino platform, and then the team was going to deploy various loggers at sites throughout the basin. This technology is so powerful, especially in places like East Africa, because it allows people on the ground to build and maintain their own sensors, rather than relying on expensive "black box" instruments that have to be shipped off for repair at great expense. Chris has already done some really great work training people in Arduino sensors in the Kenyan portion of the Mara Basin as part of MaMaSe - the Mau Mara Serengeti Sustainable Water Initiative - and this is an exciting new extension of that project. Ella was interested in learning about low-cost sensor development, so she attended the course.

Ella at Lake Victoria
For me, this meant a lovely week off hanging out with Lily in the charming lake-side town of Musoma. I love this town! It's right on the shores of Lake Victoria, so there are beautiful beaches, delicious fish, and a laidback beach town vibe. Musoma is located very close to the Mara Wetland, where the Mara River flows into Lake Victoria, so we have visited here a number of times. We currently have an ongoing project with WWF analyzing sediment cores in the Mara Wetland, so it was a great opportunity to visit the wetland as well and check in with our colleagues.

Beach on Lake Victoria
Musoma is also an amazing place to shop for kitenges, the brightly colored and boldly patterned African fabrics that many women wear. I love shopping for kitenges, and I was excited to get Ella into it. We couldn't resist having a few outfits made for us in the market.

Ella visiting with a seamstress in the market

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