What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Random Taskings...

So today is thus far pretty straight forward, I've looked into some interesting stuff.  I actually did start an REI registry, but really so I could have a list of things that I decide upon.  The first one is described below, the SteriPen for water sanitation, and is actually on sale!!  So I'm gonna have to get on that one!!  I have also just been running through music from Sierra Leone on a great website SierraLeoneNow.com.  I found a couple decent songs, one of course was a good slow jam which immediately got me fired up!!!

And a little rap.... which unfortunately doesn't give me an embed option for right here.

I called the Hennessy Hammock people and the website phone number went directly to a women's mobile number who had to call me back because she was 'outside the country'!!  Not sure how that worked...  But anyway, good conversation.  They actually let you get a hammock for a couple weeks and if it doesn't work out for you, you can send it back.  That's a great deal, sleep in it a few nights in the woods and still take it back, sweet.  We talked about two options, the Hyperlight ($229) and the Deep Jungle ($269), the deep jungle has two layers on the underneath part of it, and another pad if desired, so that mosquitos can't bit you through the fabric - sneaky little critters!!  The other one is just plain light.  I didn't ask about the difference between the bottom entrance versus the side zip entrance, but as per looking at the website now it seems I should have.  It would be nice to be able to use it as a chair as well, side zip?  There is one called the Ultralight ($189) that has the side option, as does the Deep Jungle.  They all come with the rain tarps, but she thought it might be worth thinking about a larger one if I'd be in rainy areas.  Worth a thought, but I should be there after the rainy season is mostly ending and under trees as well.  

But the most important thing thus far is that I started going through my list of NGO's doing work in Sierra Leone and sent several of them emails introducing myself and the project.  This will be of the utmost importance as once I am on the ground it will nice to have people to coordinate with and just simply sit down with and talk to.  I will be able to bring them additional publicity through any exposure I can generate, and in-turn possible help them obtain more donations.  Obviously as well, there could be longer term implications for cooperation once our non-profit is further established.    

SteriPEN (REI Review)

Many of us like this miniature light saber. It uses ultraviolet light to deactivate the unseen cooties (viruses included) that could be lurking in water. Short-wave UV light (specifically, UVC, which transmits "germicidal" attributes) zaps, or "disrupts," their DNA, rendering them unable to reproduce and thus cause illness. This is what my coworker's daughter took on her trip, and she returned healthy and well-pleased with its performance. The SteriPEN is typically my first-choice water-treatment item for backpacking trips, but every person has different preferences. It may or may not be the right item for you.


  • All SteriPEN models are small, simple to use and lightweight.
  • No wait time is needed once water has been exposed to UV light.
  • UV light imparts no taste to the water.
  • The wand can be used to treat water (without ice) in individual drinking glasses, such as in hotel rooms.
  • UV light is very effective against Cryptosporidium, the most treatment-resistant pest among protozoa and bacteria.


  • The quartz lamp could break.
  • Batteries can run out. (The manufacturer recommends using lithium batteries.)
  • Not effective in very dirty or gritty water unless it is prefiltered or clarified. Light must interact with organisms in order to be effective.


  • If water has a high particulate content, use the SteriPEN's prefilter — a screw-on cap for water bottles equipped with a 4-micron screen.
  • The use of the prefilter is advised in any outdoor situation to keep water as particulate-free as possible.
  • For speed and simplicity, bring a water bottle with threads that are compatible with the prefilter.
  • If the water clarity is poor, give it a second or even a third dosage of UV light.

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