But first why? I am now doing volunteer research for a Twin Cities based organization, Mano a Mano. Click here to learn more about the marvelous work this organization is doing in Bolivia. I have done many other types of volunteering for this organization, but now that I'm retired I've accepted the role of research volunteer. I've completed a draft of paper about updated statistics regarding maternal and infant/child health mortality in Bolivia. The rest of the research questions I have before me are related to agriculture in Bolivia. Mano a Mano has recently begun a new agricultural development effort.
So I'm researching in areas outside of my primary professional area and it's great fun to be learning about something new. On the other hand, I grew up on a farm so agriculture is not a new field for me. One area is saline soils and I have learned that halophytes are the type of plants. My work is not to educate Bolivian farmers -- oh heavens no! In the US Mano a Mano has three staff; all the rest of the effort is done by volunteers. These efforts are to better inform the North American volunteers and provide background information that may be helpful for fund-raising.
I can use the databases through the University from which I retired and that's great for journal articles -- although right now there is a major agriculture database that is totally dead because of the federal government shutdown. My University, however, does not have an emphasis in agriculture, whereas the University of Minnesota does. I can search that University library catalog but don't have any rights for checking out books. So I decided to go spend the day in the library and see what I could find.
From my old neighborhood I could take a bus to the campus. Due to my "advanced age" I can ride the bus during non-rush hour times for 75 cents. I knew I couldn't park a car for that. So I drove to the old neighborhood and then had a breakfast in a restaurant there -- one I've not been to very much since moving from that neighborhood.
I was so glad I had taken the bus for another reason -- road construction. I would have been more than frustrated by the time I got there if I had driven the car. The bus driver knew all the detours.
I ended up getting off the bus at a stop too early, but it was a lovely day for walking. And had I gotten off at the right stop I would have missed the cows.
Water in hand I walked across the street to the library.
I found the books I needed and spent about three hours with my nose in them.
On the way out I saw this view out a window.
Some others started to gather where I was waiting which gave me hope the bus would be arriving there. Then suddenly I saw the southbound bus across the street. I was waiting on the wrong side! I ran for the bus, the bus pulled out, I kept waving and running, and the driver stopped for me.
Back in the old neighborhood I stopped at Panera and cashed in my free coffee bonus. Then headed home.
A very good day.