The “Home” Stretch
by Christy Ihlo -- August 16th, 2012
Andrew, Jen, and I have been working hard over the last two weeks, trying to finish up our assigned projects (or get as much finished as we can) before heading back to the states. At this point, I’ve had several To-Do lists going with titles like “To Do Before You Leave,” “Really What You Must Do Today,” and “Seriously, This Is the Stuff You Have to Get Done!” Earlier this week, I resigned to the idea that there is really not enough time left to finish all the remaining projects (some of this is because I am currently trying to troubleshoot a few software issues and being that I am not a programmer, this is a slow process and I’m relying on communication with others for help). But I have succeeded in writing all the necessary documents (I will hopefully finish up the Human-Wildlife Conflict Officers and Village Game Scouts Manuals today – of course, this is predicated on the printer actually being able to scan, which I have already hit a snag with at 6:30 this morning, so we shall see). I have been able to pass along everything I’ve learned to the Wildlife Monitoring Program Officer with QGIS (so he will be able to make GIS maps in the coming year), the dos and don’ts of setting up camera traps, and the pitfalls in analyzing the wildlife count data so future analysis should be easier. Meanwhile, I’ve have been trying to relax and enjoy my remaining days here, knowing its unlikely I’ll ever find myself with an opportunity like this again! One week from today, I’ll be on my way back to Durham with two furry felines in tow and jumping right back into the fall semester. Hard to believe how much life will change in a week – best to enjoy a few moments in Africa now, listening to the birds and gazing at the endless stars, before becoming surrounded with the frantic pace of Western civilization I know too well.