Saturday, May 2, 2009

One of our last posts...

We have received many emails asking why we haven't updated the blog in so long given that we are now in a position to be doing so daily (those emails are in my head, mind you. . . no real person gives two dookies about us updating this blog or not). Well, upon arriving in Accra, and the day before Katie was ready to hunker down for a 36hour work session, the OSX side of our computer froze. Then it beeped, then it exploded and now it lies somewhere in the MacBook shell, its remnants still smoldering. It was truly a sad few days in the House of Kdmoghana. Not only had our computer left us in the most serious of lurches, but our self worth was relegated to close to nil since our consumer culture dictates that what we buy is the quickest way to social acceptance. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that it has taken a while to come to terms with the fact that we had a Mac that burned to the ground and are now using its shell to run Windows XP (not even some obscure Linux distro!). We bought a Mac for its reliability, ruggedness (as much as a laptop can actually be rugged), and what it says when we're emailing at the coffee shop but ended up doing some of our most important work on the four-eyed, bug- and booger-eating Windows side. It's a good thing that no one really reads this blog for I'm sure if news of this gets out our hipster cards will surely be revoked and we'll have to learn all those damn programming languages to get into the defiant-to-a-fault open-source crowd. ANYWAY, most of our Mac stuff should be backed up on our hard drive, and if we don't have ALL of our photos, we should have most of them.

The good news is that despite having to put a suit on just to check our e-mail (Get it? Because we're using Windows just like all the other cubi-dorks in the world? No? Tough crowd.) Katie was able to finish her work. Since we can't upload any of our photos we'll post some maps in just a bit. But know this: while I am at most times as useless as a plate of hog jowls at a vegan pot luck, my extensive background in internetting (yes, it's a verb) proved much more useful than one would think (insert your own pornography joke here:_____). I saved the day on more than one occasion while Katie "Queen of Flipping Out at Everything" Alfredo sat quietly in the corner and allowed me to work my magic and DID NOT look over my shoulder for the entire time, soaking my shirt in tears. Um, yeah. Here's Katie.

Well, wouldn't you freak out if you worked really hard inputting data and such just to see it all beep and explode in front of your eye??? (M: No.) Right!?!?! (M: Wrong!) It's not like I can bring in our machine to the nearest Apple store and have my data recovered (or even access the data on our external hard drive since it is formatted for our Mac....hmmmm). But, despite all this, I have succeeded in processing just the necessary data now and will go through (or back through) the rest when I have a more reliable machine to work on. is one of the maps

As you can see, Bongo has a lot of fluoride! Way more than was expected. The shading is just an interpolation of the data points. I sampled eight of the capped wells, none of which produced unusually high numbers, and so it is safe to say they are not tapping into any separate aquifer. So, this is just scratching the surface of all the information and data that we gathered, but I thought it would be nice to show you all (if anyone is still reading our blog that is) the fruits of our labor. In total we tested 286 wells (but visited more including the capped and newly drilled ones), all by bicycle, over the area. Now the difficulty is to bring these maps (I made one for each governance in the district) to the community members and try to explain why they have capped wells when other areas have higher levels of fluoride but still have access to their water. It should be interesting!

But, in case any of you are wondering when we are getting back, we now have our plane tickets and are leaving Ghana on June 11th! So soon! Our time is rapidly ending and we are dreaming of salads and fresh herbs! Yum. Being in Accra for April has been really fun and Deron and Lori (the other Fulbrighter family we are staying with) and their two boys Jasper and Dashiel are AWESOME. We went and visited the big dam on the Volta river in Akosombo, went bead shopping, and have eaten our weight in bananas and avocados and pineapples. It's been relaxing, well except for the whole computer failing part. We head back north to Bongo in a couple of days for the last stretch of work, and then we are done! It really has gone by quickly! We miss you all and hope to see everyone soon.


Jen said...

Hooray! We miss you. Sorry to hear about your computer. Your work is...incredible.


Anonymous said...

I read! I read! I check the blog 4-5 time per week! I just assumed "no updates" meant you were either busy, or had no access, and either of those situations indicated that I shouldn't send an email...

Sorry about the computer troubles, but the maps are amazing, Katie. It's always satisfying to see so many months of work becoming something tangible.

Stay safe!