My son in East Africa. What an Experience!!!

I was fortunate to have my 11 year old son, Farris, tag along with me during the first phase of my dissertation research in Ethiopia and Djibouti. The experience was amazing for both of us. We bonded and Farris amazed his teachers this past year with his ability to tie classroom topics to broader global issues of poverty, inequality, environmental change, etc.

My son traveled with me to Ethiopia and Djibouti. Life changing experience!

My son traveled with me to Ethiopia and Djibouti. Life changing experience!

East African Fieldwork – Recovery Mode

I just returned from an exhausting field research experience in Ethiopia and Djibouti where I conducted numerous interviews with cattle herders (pastoralists) and livestock “experts”.

Traveling by car from the energetic Addis Ababa to the colorfully laid back city of Moyale in the southern region of Ethiopia and back up to the feedlots of Adama and trade hub of Dire Dawa, I witnessed magnificent landscapes and met some of the loveliest people in the world.  From Dire Dawa I flew to the desert city of Djibouti to visit the port and livestock quarantine and then back to bustling Addis Ababa.

Consequently, I so badly wanted to visit Somaliland and Kenya but I was held back by numerous warnings and/or flight issues.


Miraculously, I squeezed all of my dissertation fieldwork into five highly productive weeks.  I flat out ran out of money and energy. With the proper funding, along with having my family with me I’m sure that three months would have been a better time frame for collecting all the data desired over such a large geographical area…but thankfully as I revisit my notes and begin to write in my neighborhood free Wi-Fi café – it’s all coming together. My journey to the highest degree attainable  now involves following up on interviews, collecting secondary data from policy reports and databases and developing GIS maps.

So now that I believe  I am 80% mentally and physically recovered and as I attempt to process all of this information, my goal is to share some of my East African observations and experiences with you.  I hope that you enjoy what’s to come.  Discussions and respectful opinions are certainly welcome!