July 25th 2016

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Breakfast was potatoes and rice, ate the potatoes, skipped the rice. Didn’t
sleep that well and I am counting the days left in the tent. (6)

I always feel like we don’t get that much done while we are here. The days
are so short and I seem to fall asleep so early. This is likely due to the
poor sleeping conditions. The other Mark snores so loud that I can’t
imagine how a spouse could handle it. One of the drivers also snores but he
is a bit farther away. Aron has a chronic cough that will go on for an hour
when he first lays down and sometimes during the night. The humidity still
bothers me at night, it was cool enough in the 60s, but I always feel
sticky. Washing your face would make it feel better, but the water isn’t
clean so that isn’t a good Idea so I used a baby wipe instead.

The jungle noises aren’t bad except if you count the chickens that start up
at 3:30am. There are rats everywhere, but they are more like big mice and
you do hear them on the roofs and in the walls. I have seen several of them
within 5 to 10 feet or so. There were some in the wall last night while we
were working.

The more I think about problems here the more I feel they are not the
technical ones. Getting the locals to take ownership of the systems after
installation seems to be a big problem. It seems they would rather wait
until we come back to fix the problems than just fix them. They have
individuals that are sharp enough to do it. Some of it is a money problem,
nobody wants to pay taxes.

The food has improved somewhat but I think I still will loose a few pounds.
Not much dairy either. Breakfast this morning was fried potato slices on
rice. I followed that up with a granola bar. Was going to take a shower
last night, but decided to wait until this afternoon. Too many spiders in
the showers to do that at night. The views at night are something I wish
you could see. The moon is way passed full, but you can see very well by
it. Even with a bit of fog in the air, you can see one of the mountains in
the distance with the fog in the valley, all by moonlight. When it clears a
bit, the stars are hard to describe.

There is as always dirt everywhere. Hard to keep anything clean. I have
worn the same pants throughout the trip so far and might just wash the legs
this afternoon if the sun is strong.

We have meetings at 3 of the schools today, I don’t think we will get any
actual work done.

First two meetings went ok, at the second one, they wanted to run an inverter.

Lunch was carrots, beans, and rice. I was hungry so I ate it all. Meeting
at 2:00 was a school that is on the low end of the poverty side. They get
lights next year. Back at Kafs. Swella attempted to get a gram of river
gold, but they didn’t have any. I took a shower and texted with Antje.
Washed just the legs of the pants.

 

July 26th 2016

No photos worth showing for the day.

Up at 6, breakfast was a small amount of veggies on almost soggy rice.
Slept better last night, not that great, just better. Started actual work
at Ambohitsara. Two vehicles with two borrowed from the water team and
Clara. Got here about 7:15 and after 3 hours had new lights up but not
wired, and the ground conduit done on the side of building. It looks ok.
Hit a good stopping point at 11:30 just as some rain hit. Back to Kefs for
a lunch of rice, carrots, green beans, and cauliflower. Got back about
1:25. The daughter let us in without issues. Aron started in on putting up
the lights in the second classroom and Chris was back in the attic finishing
up the wires there. The first 3 lights were on at 1:55. All the lights
came up fine. My only issue was connecting the power to the other room.
The wire tie was a waterproof one and the silicone was just a mess with
minimal ways to clean it up. Headed back about 4:45.

I showered after I used the can and before dinner. Also went down to
Joseph’s and got some sweet crackers, 3 pack for 100a each. Dinner was
Ramon with hard boiled egg. Read for a bit but still crashed about 8.

 

July 27th 2016

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Up at 5:50. Put ear plugs in at 2:30 due to snoring. Raining this morning,
hope that doesn’t last long. Peanut butter and rice breakfast. Back to
Ambohitsara to finish up there. We did get a member of the water team to
assist us this time and we even had Swella (translator) to help with talking
to the locals. Installation did go well and we managed to finish that site
before breaking for lunch. Back to the camp for lunch and it was (big
surprise) rice and beans. There was carrot salad also, so I just mixed it
in with the beans and ate all the beans but just half the rice. After lunch
we drove to another village and picked up someone with keys to Futobahitra.
That is where we are changing out the lights. The ceiling there is worse
than it was 3 years ago and I decided not to trust having students up there.
We are just hanging the lamps from where we did before. Not sure if Libby
will be happy with that, but not worth the risk. Didn’t get the ground wire
conduit completed before it started to get dark and we headed back. We
dropped off the official that unlocked the school for us even though it was
out of the way. Dark by the time we pulled in. Dinner was cauliflower and
rice, just ok. Read for a few minutes before calling it a night At almost
9:00. This time I started with ear plugs.

 

July 28th 2016

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Up 5:40, but didn’t get out of the tent till almost 6, breakfast was soggy
rice with greens. We packed up and headed to Kinjavato to replace conduit.
It will take at least a day maybe two. Back for lunch of rice potatoes, and
carrots. Got a camera battery and the Anker 10K on charge before we headed
back to Kinjavato. Not as productive this afternoon. A bit rain at 3:30
forced us to work for a bit inside and it was 4:30 without getting much more
done. Back at camp, I took a fast shower with very cold water. Dinner was
cauliflower, green beans, peas, and rice. A bit salty but taste is ok.
Didn’t stay up too late, maybe 8:30. Did finish Vienna this afternoon.

 

 

 

July 29th 2016

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Smart phones here like everywhere.

Up 5:30, needed to pee but it was cold out and too far to the can. Got out
of the bag about 5:50. Breakfast was scrambled eggs and soggy rice. Early
start at Futobahitra, finished and back at Kianjavato by 8:45. Still
painfully slow at times, when the guys start talking about other things, the
work grinds to a crawl. Got most the work done by 11:30, then back to Kafs
for lunch. Beans, rice, and a carrot salad. I mixed it all together and it
was just ok. Back to Kianjavato and we finished everything up by 3:45.
Dinner was rice with green beans and carrots.

 

 

July 30th 2016

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Me in my tent for the night.

Still up at 6:00, breakfast was peanut butter on soggy rice. Just hung out
for the morning. Can’t seem to find my space pen. Lunch was good, fried
rice with veggies mixed in. Also corossol juice from a plant that was
growing near by. Tastes a bit like not so sweet pear juice. Picked up a
couple of pajama bottoms for 10K each. Water meeting at 3:30. People
didn’t show up till 4:00. Dinner was served a bit later than usual. Rice
with green beans, potatoes, and cauliflower. But the cauliflower is so
salty I can’t eat it.

 

July 31st 2016

Sunset from Kinjavato
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Up at 6 like usual and traded a couple of text messages with Antje.
Breakfast was scrambled egg and rice, I ate the egg. We did go to market
and I picked up another LED lamp (10K) and a small solar panel (25K) Along
with the 1gr of gold. Back at Kafs, I packed everything back into my bag.
Lunch was green beans, carrots, zukini, and rice. There was a salad also.
Libby got the MOU signed and we were off to Ranamafana.

Left camp 4:15 arrived 5:40, no hot water, but ok other than that. Well the
climb up to the unit sort of sucks. Dinner was spaghetti with meat sauce,
not bad. Didn’t stay up long after that.

 

 

August 1st 2016

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Up too early but didn’t get out of bed till 6:00. Breakfast at 6:30 with
bread butter and tea. Park was fun, but I didn’t take many notes.

 

August 2nd 2016 It is a long way home.

 

Cafe De La Gare

Timeline of heading home from Ranamafana, Madagascar

3:15 woke up
4:15 got out of bed
5:00 loaded up
5:16 headed out
6:07 hit highway 7
6:48 364K to Tana
7:03 stop for gas
7:24 moving again
8:06 312K to Tana
8:22 300K to Tana
9:00 Ambositra
9:12 hotel where we spent the night going down. Paused
9:17 moving again
9:19 souvenir shop
9:52 moving again
10:12 238K
10:53 200K
11:45 stopped for lunch, cheese pizza
12:38 back on the road
12:48 160Km
14:08 73Km
14:23 60Km
15:40 MBP (Madagascar Biodiversity Project)
16:50 left MBP to drop off translators
18:20 got to Cafe De La Gare
21:00 left dinner, need to get gas
21:22 at gas station by airport

## 8/3/16 Wednesday
1:45 Flights home.
Had a window seat and got moved to isle.
Watched a movie
4:50am Tana time tried to sleep
7:30am Woke feeling better
4:15pm (Paris time) off to Atlanta
1:25pm CST attempted a nap
3:30pm back up after 2 hour
11:15pm CST arrived in Omaha
12:30am CST arrived in Lincoln