Wednesday, November 9, 2011

First Rains

So down here at Kande we received our morning first rain the day before yesterday. It was really quite refreshing after the so many weeks of heat. On that rainy morning I took the opportunity to sit back have a nice hot cup of freshly made and locally-grown Chipunga coffee and read this article, entitled "Number as inventive frontier in knowing and working Australia's water resources." by Helen Verran, a historian and philosopher of science at the University of Melbourne. She wrote a book on Yoruban mathematics and has since been active in the field of Science and Technology Studies.
The article, which is rather difficult to follow as befits here philosophy prof status I suppose, talks about two water quality data collecting organizations in Australia. One of the organizations, Waterwatch has a huge network of volunteer data collectors who regularly go out and test the water quality of Australia's rivers. Their goal is to "fill in spatial and temporal monitoring gaps" in Australia's government-run monitoring program and their motto is "You can't sustain what you haven't measured." How cool is that! And it is precisely the kind of thing we are trying to set up here in Malawi. The "monitoring gaps" here are pretty huge.