09 July 2012

Introduction

By way of introduction: I am a PhD student of geography at Oregon State University (OSU) and have a background in environmental hydrogeology. I have conducted field research in the USA, Bahamas, and Southeastern Europe, and have traveled to Australia, South America, and Central America. I have worked many jobs from bus driving and bartending to alternative energy consultant and water security analyst. In two weeks I will leave for one year of research in Africa and Asia.

My current research is a look into whether dam development is a mechanism for human security on global, national, and local-level scales. I have designed two case studies, one in the Blue Nile basin in Ethiopia, the other in the Amu Darya basin in Uzbekistan. I am able to do this through the generous support of the Gray Family Travel Fund and my teaching and research assistanceships for Dr. Aaron Wolf on his Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database.

I arrive in Ethiopia in early August and will conduct interviews until December. I will be in Addis Ababa initially, the capital city, and intend to travel to Asosa in the Nile basin. In January I will travel to Uzbekistan for 6 months of field interviews in Tashkent and the Aral Sea basin. This will be my travel log, to share both the experience of working abroad, my impressions of various cultures, and the story of the rivers and the communities dependent upon the water. Hopefully this will be less my story, but rather more the story of the people I meet; their communities, lives, and the changes they are experiencing as the world moves toward something called progress and modernity. 

In preparation I have been running around for two months getting shots, paperwork, and equipment. I attempted Amharic language lessons and have done no study of Russian language. I will have to rely on translators. I have no solid landing point in Addis and my travel plan is loose. I hope things will work out alright...