First week in Sierra leone

My research started out very rocky. I arrived at the Dulles airport only to be notified that Brussels Airline workers were on strike.  Airport officials told me that my suitcase will not arrive with me in Freetown and they did not know when my luggage would arrive. I arrived in Freetown, and for a whole week I was without a suitcase. I had to borrow clothes from family members, and I could not officially begin my research until my suitcase arrived because all my research equipment was in my suitcases.

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Week 2: 10 Traps, 24 Terrapins, and 1 Bite

Week 2 began bright and early.  By 8am on Monday I was on my way to Queens Creek, where Professor Chambers and I would place the ten modified crab traps.  These traps were almost identical to the crab pots we saw sitting on the residential docks along the creek.  Ours, however, had tall mesh chimneys protruding from the top.  When the terrapins swim in the openings in the sides of the trap, they are unable to find their way back out.  Our chimneys allow them to come to the surface for air until we record their presence and release them.  We placed the ten traps toward the edge of the creek, attaching them to pieces of wood hammered into the mud so they wouldn’t drift away.

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Books as Conversation Partners

In A Theology of Higher Education, Mike Higton discusses how learning is inherently social. It is a continual conversation in which we learn to make judgments on the reasons of others, and to have our own reasons judged. He discusses how, even amidst the loneliness of a Ph.D. writer, the learning process is inherently social. I find his description fascinating: [Read more…]

The Acceptability Trial

Until I came to Malawi and began working on Professor Ickes’ PUFA study, I had never conducted (or or heard of, for that matter) an acceptability trial. However, over the last couple weeks, with the help of child nutrition researchers from Washington University in St. Louis, I have been brought up to speed on the ins and outs of such trials. And now, I have developed my own to conduct here in Malawi! Here are the specifics on the trial:

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An exciting change of pace: PUFA

Although I came to Malawi with the goal of working on two studies (the ethnographic study I’ve been posting about and the PUFA therapeutic food study), the process on the ethnographic study has been slowed as we continue to wait on ethics board approval here. Simultaneously, the PUFA study has moved ahead and received ethical approval in Malawi! Working in Africa can be unpredictable, so I am just thrilled that one of Prof Ickes’ and my projects can get off the ground.

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