Nature is imagination itself

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“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.” ― William Blake

So Marwa remains to be actively busy, September like the rest of 2015 months – so far – flew by so fast. Marwa remains to be exploring possibilities on how to feed the 9 billion people expected to live on this planet by 2050 and she does that by taking good care of her good little friends: the black soldier flies. I finally did receive some of the metal cages I requested icipe’s workshop to construct for me. I use these cages to keep track of the flies development as they feed on organic waste and then, I look into the effects on both the flies and the decomposed waste. That can be a bit tricky, not all waste types are suitable for our purposes  and I can tell by now that some are so good and some are not suitable unless mixed with other components. Some waste types don’t retain moisture and don’t provide a proper level of humidity for the flies to thrive and feed. Some are dense and don’t allow the flies to dwell up and down and instead trap them at the bottom and not giving them any chance to breathe and reach the top once again.

Marwa's bioconversion chambers (She had to have them painted in pink :-) )
Marwa’s bioconversion chambers (She had to have them painted in pink 🙂 )
Baby flies feeding on Ananas
Baby flies feeding on Ananas

So the fridge I ordered to store my samples in finally arrived. As promised the fridge is a no-go zone and its only for Marwa 🙂

Marwa's fridge: Keep your hands off or you'll be in danger :-p
Marwa’s fridge: Keep your hands off or you’ll be in danger :-p

Counting larvae under the microscope is tiring and by the time I am done, it feels like I have a pair of crossed eyes.

1 fly, 2 flies, 3 flies, 4 flies....Zzzzzzzzzz
1 fly, 2 flies, 3 flies, 4 flies….Zzzzzzzzzz

Preparing all sort of colorful selective microbiological media is really fun. Its like playing with mud paste in the kindergarten 🙂

Colorful Microbial Media
Colorful Microbial Media

I am not only learning from my very own experiments, but the fact that I am surrounded by a group of scientists enriches my experience. I see the group members as they walk in with new samples and I witness their happiness when they reach some sort of a breakthrough with their research. Having discussions with them increases my knowledge and makes a better scientist out of me. Not only that, but I get the privilege of a sneak peak into their research. Recently I had the chance to play with a silk moth that a colleague of mine collected. Never did I think that I would see a silk moth in reality, let alone touch it with my very own hands.

Marwa meets a silk moth.She mistakenly treats it like a little puppy and rubbs its skin :-)
Marwa meets a silk moth.She mistakenly treats it like a little puppy and rubs its skin 🙂

Adventures don’t end at icipe’s gates. Interesting things happen off icipe’s road as well. For example, a camel crossing the roundabout like in the picture below.

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Someone seems to be a very “traffic-laws” abiding citizen

We celebrated Eid Ul Adha / Feast of sacrifice / Opferfest last Thursday. Unlike Eid Ul Fitr / Feast of Breakfast/Zuckerfest, we didn’t have the day off but Dr.Samira and Dr. Fathiya got me so many sweet cookies and we had a delicious Biryani made by Dr Fathiya to celebrate the holiday. On the weekend, Marwa had to celebrate her own way so she went for some serious Fajitas and ice tea 🙂

Cookies from the supervisors :-)
Cookies from the supervisors 🙂
It was a Mexican kind of Eid :-)
It was a Mexican kind of Eid 🙂
Fancy some real tea? How about coming down to Kenya? :-p
Fancy some real tea? How about coming down to Kenya? :-p

On my free times, I enjoy reading a very interesting book. Its the personal autobiography of Richard Dawkins, the Oxford Evolutionary biologist and the man behind the “Selfish Gene”.

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An appetite for wonder

October is going to be a busy month. A presentation to prepare, a paper to elaborate and write, a summer school and a conference to attend. Plus carrying on with my research. I am already looking forward 🙂

Till later 🙂

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Marwa Shumo Written by:

An environment biotechnologist,a junior researcher & a doctoral fellow. I am here to report my adventures as a visiting scholar and a field researcher in Kenya :-) My research in a nutshell is waste and flies..Follow my blog posts for further information.

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