I am finally back home after a little more than two weeks on the road. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but my itinerary went like this: Columbus, D.C., NYC, Long Island, D.C., Columbus, San Francisco, Columbus, all in about two weeks. I know, I know, I used to be a consultant, so I should be able to deal, but I think absence has made the heart have no tolerance, when it comes to this particular way of life for me. I love to travel, but I prefer to go to one place and stay there for more than one night at a time. 

Anyhow, as I have mentioned in the last couple of posts, amazing things learned and exposed to at both conferences. Especially for someone who works at home typically, it’s wonderful to get out into the world and meet people doing things similar to what we’re trying to do at Nuru. There was plenty of encouragement, collaboration, and commiseration, and we learned a lot.

My favorite meet was this amazing person: Neal Lesh. I doubt he will remember me as I was amongst a big crowd of audience-members who bombarded him after a very frank talk he gave about setting up phone-based data gathering systems, but he exposed us to a Google Group of organizations like us who have set up such systems. Our new intern, Nathalie Collins, will join the group and we’ll start to be able to share war stories with our fellow fighters against extreme poverty. We’re excited about that.

Which brings me to that: our interns! We’re so excited about them! Stephanie, Karina, Vivian (via Skype), and I spent Monday and Tuesday of this week in the Bay Area training our two new interns in preparation for their summer work with us. I had interviewed both of them via Skype, but this time together constituted my first face-to-face meeting of each of them. It was a great couple of days. We spent one day training on Nuru in general, and one day training on all the activities of the Research Team. It was firehose-type training, but I think they seemed to get a lot out of it based on the questions and comments they both contributed.

Lindsay Ewy comes to us as a 2010 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a dual major in Economics and Finance. She’ll be working from home for us for eight weeks on a variety of things, but her highest priority will be helping me with the whole entire volunteer management process that we have put into place. I am so looking forward to getting a deep and thorough perspective from her on this process. We sure need help!

Nathalie Collins comes to us as a student of Stanford’s d.school (Institute of Design at Stanford). She’s already been to Kuria with her class at school doing work on a product that it designed for Nuru a few months ago. She’ll work with us this summer on the amazing PIN that David has set up. She’ll head out to Kuria in about a week, turnover with David, and hit the ground running, I am sure.

It is so fun to see our Research Team growing! It will surely be a fascinating summer for us.