June 23, 2016:
Today we got a lot done in terms of orienting ourselves with the town, laboratory and equipment. We started the morning off by buying some supplies we still needed like water bottles to freeze to put in the cooler and sterilizing alcohol. When we got to the office, we organized and sterilized our equipment. Next, we translated Gaby’s protocol in Spanish so that it will be easier to teach Elcia and Lisvia later, while also familiarizing ourselves with the steps. We hydrated 7 test plates in the morning and put them in the freezer for an hour so that we could do some practice samples today.
Since there is no fridge at the office, we have been using a cooler with frozen water bottles to keep our test plates cool. We ran into some problems with the cooler we were using because the ice was melting due to the heat and we didn’t have enough to keep the cooler very cold, but we checked the tests after to make sure that they weren’t ruined (they weren’t!).
We were able to collect 7 samples to test today: Bottled water, lake water, water from the street and three functioning filters in the office. We also collected a sample from a filter in the office that had been sent back due to malfunctioning to see if it still produced safe water. As we were conducting our experiments, we noticed things that could be done more efficiently such as having a small fan to dry the equipment faster in between trials because we sterilized everything in between uses to avoid cross contamination. We placed the samples in the incubator at 95 F (which we didn’t really need because it was the same inside the office anyway) to let them sit for 24 hours and we will check the results tomorrow. After lunch we spent the afternoon changing the ice in the cooler, checking the incubator and unsuccessfully searching for a mini fridge before getting ice cream with Elcia and Lesvia.