Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hurry up and wait! or, How I learned to stop worrying and love the journey

On the tarmac in Nairobi

Day three here on the Kenyan coast, and we have finally placed our first arthropod traps in the nearby Gede restoration forest.

Yesterday was a day spent wrangling with various bureaucratic headaches - replete with frantic phone calls/texts to colleagues back at the Nairobi headquarters of the National Museums of Kenya - the organization that oversees operations of the Gede National Monument here on the coast where we're working. As is often the case here, our dialogue was full of nuance and intimation - eventually it became clear that a sticking point was my lapsed membership as an Affiliate Member of the National Museums of Kenya.
By the end of the day we had resolved that upon my renewal (and accompanying fee payment), we would be allowed access into the forest to do our research. Thus ensued a frantic afternoon rushing into town to take care of transferring money via M-pesa, a cell phone-based service for which Kenya is quite well known (The Economist has highlighted this service several times recently, praising it's simplicity and practicality). Once we were able to load the money onto our phone, we then simply sent it to our colleague's phone in Nairobi, and we were all set.

M-pesa station, Watamu
This morning, as promised, we were allowed access to the forest (after another hourlong delay - but who's counting?) - finally putting in traps to capture ground-dwelling and flying insects in the restoration forest. We're looking forward to returning in the morning to see what we've caught!

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