How to Prep for a Research Expedition

I think I’m writing this blog because the answer is that I don’t know. I just made my first packing & to do list and it’s overwhelming. When I pack for myself and I forget my toothbrush it’s no big deal. Now if I forget a scalpel handle I’ll instead have to excise fish tissue with a machete. Well, that’s an exaggeration, as long as I don’t forget the fish guide I should be ok. I’m definitely going to bring an electronic back-up copy of that one.

So, while I’m starting to calculate the work on the horizon, I’m also really excited. I’m talking with other scientists to learn how my project can help them in their current work. One scientist just replied and said that he saw a 20′ hammerhead shark landed by fishermen in Sierra Leone the last time he was there. Twenty feet! I would just die and go to shark heaven if that happened. It reminds me that ANYTHING can happen, or be pulled from the sea. Here’s to lots of new discoveries and experiences!Fish in the Sand


Africa Countdown: 82 days!
Things on the to-do list: 82+ :(

Health care for women improves in Sierra Leone

Children in Sierra Leone

Free health clinics are good news for these kids, who were hanging out in the market while their parents worked.

Sierra Leone, a country that is now very dear to me after my first visit last Nov, was once of the most unsafe countries for pregnant women. In 2009, it was estimated that 1 in 8 women died during pregnancy or childbirth – the story was even worse for the newborns.

But international donors have contributed to medical facilities, the government waives clinic fees for women and children, and the results are spectacular:

Since waiving the fees, Sierra Leone has seen a 214 percent increase in the number of children under 5 getting care at health facilities, a 61 percent decrease in mortality rates in difficult pregnancy cases at health clinics, and an 85 percent drop in the malaria fatality rate for children treated in hospitals, according to figures Mr. Yates supplied.

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