Another question about the field trip and Tanzania research:

Are you in Tanzania for research or is your job/institution is sending you there?

The answer is both.

Back in January 2012, I came to Oklahoma State University to accept a post-doc position in the Zoology Department. I came to study the African Giant Pouched Rat. I heard it called Panibuko (sp), but it's most famous local name is HeroRat.

A Hero Rat in training at APOPO
My objective is to learn more about this species natural behavior and to do that, I had to come to Tanzania to study them in person and in the wild. And yes, my institution sent me here to do this. How neat is my job? I know right. Science Rocks!!!

But before I could here, I had a lot of paperwork to do and I made lists - lots of lists.

My BIG To Do List

I had to make sure all of the appropriate protocols to do animal research were completed at my university, for the funding agency that's paying for the research (and my salary), as well as paperwork with our collaborative institutions such as Sokoine University of Agirculture.

I also had to order supplies: traps, trapping supplies, animal identification equipment, safety supplies and gear.

I also had work with university offices to make travel, lodging, and paymentt arrangements for this research. Chasing down folks, complete paperwork, revising numbers, resubmitting requests, and shopping took up many of my days. And that's not the time I spent corresponding with collaborators 8 hours ahead to get everything in order. Even today, I spent quite a bit of time filing final papers for research approval here in Tanzania.

Like I said before, it has been a worldwind, but it's been worth it. I've learned much and I appreciate all of the help from the University and Zoology Department Staff getting everything completed. Hats off to all of the support staff who make what I and other researchers do possible. We could not do it without the gracious assistance (and patience) of the secretaries, tech assistants, financial staff, travel and insurance offices, and technicians who keep the gears working under the hood.

And thank you very much to donors I've gotten so far.

Shout out to SciCurious of the The SciCurious Brain, R. Jansen of Missouri, The Carter Family of Maryland, The Jefferson Family of Ohio, The Nguyen Family of Washington State. I appreciate all of the love and support and I want to thank everyone who has been praying for me - my safety, health, and productivity. A special shout out to my family (parents, siblings, cousins) OutdoorAfro Leadership Team, and friends from life and online.

All donors get a commemorative #DispatchesDNLee Postcard thank you note.