Wednesday the 13th….
I rode my bike to a meeting at the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center, and three hours later inherited a project initiating a water quality intervention field trial designed to increase access and availability of sanitary water to agro-pastoralist communities in the Ruaha Ecosystem, Tanzania. God Bless ‘Em.
I’m a bit overwhelmed actually. Two weeks ago I was neck-deep in a quantitative modeling project of an indigenous herbaceous fallow mixed cropping system located in Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe. There I was, locked into heavy equation building, trying to program Carbon Nitrogen ratios into my mass flow diagram and really drive maize productivity, when I realized I wasn’t very interested in the outcome. Damn. 6 months of brutal ecological modeling and applied theory in the old toolbox and no chance of using it.
Now, let me make one thing clear: I’m no friend to massacre and blood letting, but a project of ours in Kenya using point-of-use water treatment technology incorporated into a micro-enterprise model was doing just fine until January, when it was forced to halt operations due to post-election violence. So now I’m managing it’s would be clone in Tanzania.
When operations were suspended in the Kenyan Rift, the PI began talks with another project PI in Tanzania on regional similarities. They decided to meet up and discuss the feasibility of moving the Kenyan project to Ruaha, and a week later I arrive on bici for the meeting and get involved. Head explosion!
Image courtesy of Best Horror Movies: http://www.best-horror-movies.com/images/dawn-of-the-dead-head-explosion.jpg
It’s really not all that bad. My brain’s not bleeding, at least not yet….So far there’s good feelings between the PIs and research teams, general enthusiasm for the project, and no lack of challenges. There are the obvious funding and resource constraints, the fact that I’ve spent two years studying agricultural economics and soils, and now am working with civil engineering, water-borne pathogens, and business development, but hey. What else am I gonna do?
After the meeting I go back to the office feeling perfectly keen on the new developments, me a Project Manager, how nice! And I realize there’s a proposal deadline the next day. So I write like crazy and research all night and churn out a piece of work that’s attached right here, the Main Attraction. So come one, come all, and comment, cause I know I will when I finally have time to plan this monster out, and then destroy my method, my time-line, and especially my budget, which in less than a week has escalated from $15K to a whopping $100K.
The best part: I’ll be on moto in the field, or piki piki as they say…. Now I just have to learn Swahili, find $80K, and read for the next three months, all while taking 15 credits and working 20 hours a week. Breezy… We love grad school.