Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Take a read at what our intern, Kees, has been up to!


           Currently I am doing an internship at the research center. This is part of my university course ‘Applied Biology’. I came here as a dive virgin who only dived in cold pools in the Netherlands. On my first day my virginity got taken away and we made an amazing dive on the island. In the following 3 months I Made around 30 dives and am now a proud owner of my open water certificate. The goal of diving changed a lot lately, from going diving to practice my buoyancy and basically just surviving under water to doing serious research on the cichlids present around the island. 


For my study I survey 8 different transects on biodiversity around the island and upcoming to our new location Nkhata Bay. These transects are laid out at different depths and posses different stratas and different communities of fish. This makes for 4 dives a week for a Total of 2 months. Which Will make a Total of 32 amazing dives with hopefully usefull data as well. The data will be analysed to compare the different biodiversity of the locations based upon strata and depths (5m and 10m).

There is more I do at the research center because there is a fishing village and three rivers to monitor. It is important to monitor these since they give a lot of information. 3 times a week we make a welcoming hike to these rivers and every weekday we visit the fishing village every week. It is nice to participate in other researches as well so you can learn from them and it makes for some nice distraction of your own research. 

Altogether my time here has been wonderful and it is great to experience this culture, the weather, the nature and the beautiful lake at a young age. It makes you more adult and conscious about your life when you have had 5 months in Malawi to compare it to.


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Saturday, June 2, 2018

Starting a Community Engagement Project, from Federico our newest Intern!


The Maru has been monitoring the Mazukuhunju Fishing Village for over 7 years, weighing the fish that they caught everyday in order to get an idea of how many fish had been taken from the lake. In spite of this monitoring when I  arrived to The Maru I realized that everything we knew from the fishing village was based on rumours or casual conversations with the people around Kande, so i decided that we needed to do a characterization of the village and ask villagers their challenges while they are fishing and living in this village in order to be able to create a project together with the community that can both increase the amount of fish in  the lake and improve their quality of life.
So far we have done over 22 interviews and the results have been better than expected, the people from the village, have been very receptive to us asking them questions about their way of life, and we have been able to get to know more about their life style, their organization as a community,  their main challenges in their fishing activities, their opinions about other stakeholders in the lake, their feelings about overfishing, among other things.

Once the interviews are over, we will be able to characterize the  demographics of the village, and also I will be designing a project with the information gathered with the aims of decreasing the overfishing in the lake while also helping the villagers to have a better way of life.

As a divemaster and an environmental lawyer it has been an amazing learning experience to come to The Maru and learn more about different scientific disciplines, like aquatic biology, learning more about the cichilids, how to to do underwater surveys, monitor water quality in the rivers, and also complementing my social science knowledge by getting to know the people from the fiishing village and their way of living, and learning how to create a community engagement project by just doing it. Also just the fact of being living in Malawi , right next to the Lake in a beautiful place like Kande has been wonderful.


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