Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mama Audrey and the Go Girl

Liz Gillispie reporting here for the Polizzotto lab group!

With the patriarch of our lab no longer overseeing the work here in Cambodia, Audrey has been left in control and me as her humble grad servant, I mean student. Despite multiple pieces of equipment getting broken, excessive amounts of water being poured on the floors of the RDI lab, overuse of paper towels, and catching random lab workers clipping their finger nails with our nail clipper from the surface water kit, I'd say Audrey and I have things all under control.

Since all the well sampling and surface sampling has been completed, Audrey and I set out today to collect well water and rain water samples from various homes in the village on a main street that runs parallel to the Mekong.  It was the same road where we collected much of our well samples from before.  As Audrey and I collected the water, Dina, a local Khmi RDI member, talked with someone from each site to see how they used their water, how many people used it, whether they filtered/boiled it, and if anyone ever had stomach issues.  All went smoothly and now Audrey is hard at work preparing to test each sample for fecal bacteria (I'd give the specific names but I can't spell them let alone pronounce them!).

Our lab was able to find some entertainment throughout the sampling process, however, such as watching Audrey attempt to get out of the mud, performing titrations for large gatherings of interested locals, working around the ambitious children who were bold enough to not stop touching our equipment, playing with tree leaves, and from a competition of long jump made my our driver Pon.  We were exhausted by the end of the day and found ourselves completely ready for bed by 7:30 or 8:00 each night.

As our trip comes to end, I think we can all agree that we will truly miss the closeness of the families here and their generosity of welcoming us into their homes.  There was not a day where we weren't greeted with a big smile from Da's Aunt at the local coffee shop or waved at by little children to and from RDI (Da is another Khmi member of RDI).  Audrey and I were also blessed to have the chance to eat dinner with Da's family one night, which turned out to be a huge gathering (a typical evening dinner for them apparently).  I was able to sit next to Da's grandfather, Grandpa Da, which was completely the highlight of my trip.  That man is awesome.  But I digress.  The point is, family is important all around the world and you don't have to be related to be a part of one.  So thanks to all the wonderful people that made us feel at home during our stay here at RDI!

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