Sunday, May 17, 2009


I'm in Africa again. I'll be here again for 3 months, but this time my field work will be taking me to Senegal and Kenya, with possible trips to Tanzania, Mozambique, and Malawi squeezed in. So many adventures ahead...

We are again a small team (just 3 of us), and this week finds us working just about around the clock on our project's kick-off. By the end of June we'll have delivered 7 types of surveys to 50 rural villages. We're wondering whether and just how much "productive use" water systems (aka fancier systems that deliver more volume to homes, courtesy of Senegal's abundant aquifers) improve people's lives by supporting their livelihoods. We're wondering if a sense of ownership among community members for their water system actually means the infrastructure is better managed. We're electronic survey coding maniacs. We carry silly little PDAs around with us everywhere to test these surveys out! There are of course a few moments for relaxing and fun, but very little time for blogging I'm realizing... Nevertheless I'm going to do my best to keep you all updated regularly.

Well, I'm having a blast in Dakar, and I'm trying my best to take in everything around me with an open mind and heart (as the blogs new title suggests) despite the occasional insanity that tends to set in after a night of endless coding.

Here are some pictures taken from the roof of our guesthouse last night:

Yucky trash pile in front of our guesthouse that sends unpleasant
smells into our work room by about 3pm everyday as it bakes
under the African sun! We were happy to learn that someone comes
to clean it up once a week, at least.

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