Budzanani Tacheba is a local scientist from Mapoka, Botswana, who joined the AquaRAP from the Okavango Research Center (ORC) in Maun. He is a member of the Plant Team headed by Fred Ellery.
We took a quick break between data collection and entry so that I could ask him a few questions.
Q: What did you study at university?
A: I completed two years of general study at the University of Botswana before transferring to University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where I completed my first degree in Ecological Sciences with an emphasis on Natural Resource Management.
Q: How did you get involved in Botany?
A: My particular interest is ecological studies; however it is important for me first to understand the various disciplines that comprise this field. My job at ORC has been to build up a herbarium, or collection of plant specimens. This, in combination with the other research I have participated in at ORC and the AquaRAP, will help me pursue my interests on an ecosystem level.
Q: What has been the best component of AquaRAP for you?
A: This expedition has been very valuable in terms of acquiring skills in the area of plant taxonomy and gaining a wider scope of knowledge about the Delta.
Q: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
A: I am really focused on furthering my education. I hope to have my masters degree in two years and my Ph.D. within seven. I will ultimately get involved in research full time, teach, or most preferably doing consulting which I find to be more active than the research route.
Q: Where do you think you will focus your work?
A: I would be happy to be exposed to new places outside of Botswana. It will be a great opportunity to gain more experience in the field. However, I will always be based in Botswana. This is my home and I must always come back. That is a fact!
Q: What was your first impression of the Delta?
A: The Delta is a very exciting place. It is so isolated and peaceful.
Q: Have you ever had any close encounters while trying to do your job?
A: Yes! While trying to collect samples near a water hole in the dry season, I was charged by female elephants protecting their young...not once but twice!
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: Collecting plants can sometimes be painfully boring. However, after collection is completed and the plants have been analyzed, a clear picture is created. It is so satisfying to see the results in line with your original hypothesis or concepts.
Q: What is your vision for the Delta?
A: For the government to come up with a wetlands management policy that recommends sustainable utilization of the resources in the Delta.
Q: Do you see yourself creating this policy some day?
A: Once I have finished my training, I certainly hope to chip in to make it happen!
– Reported by Sharon Safran
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