Besides the ideas and the personal effort, this project would not have been possible without the support of many people during both the preparation and the current implementation phase. I owe a debt of gratitude to a number of colleagues and friends worldwide for having encouraged and helped me, and I will do so in a specific post.
However, there certainly is one person that deserves a special mention, and to whom I will always be grateful: Professor Gian Maria Zuppi.
I started working with him in 2004, when I moved to Venice for my MSc in Environmental Sciences.
He is actually the reason why I chose Ca’ Foscari University. I had the idea of doing my MSc project ”in Senegal and about water” so my BSc advisor, Dr. Elisa Sacchi, told me that in Venice I may have found the right person.
I still remember the first day we met, when I introduced myself as “the student of Pavia who wanted to go to Senegal”…The nice part of this story is that instead of telling me I was too demanding he immediately picked up the phone and called his friend and colleague in Dakar to inform him that he will soon have sent a student to work with him on a new project.
No sooner said than done I’ve been to Senegal to do my MSc project, and after that I started a PhD project in Morocco, always under his supervision.
I cannot say how many things I have learnt in seven years, and luckily there weren’t only groundwater, isotopes or science related.
I truly loved working with him. He was a straightforward and honest person, and he could “see phenomena” in diagrams that made no sense to me.
I shared with him the passion and enthusiasm about new challenges and projects, the interest in international cooperation, the love for travels (and earning fidelity miles), and I guess the love for North Africa.
I am also really grateful to him because he always challenged me to follow my ideas and because in some occasions he gave me the opportunity to fail (and learn from my mistakes), but always being present at my side in case of need.
This project is a synthesis of many ideas and things I believe in, but I’m sure that without all the lessons I’ve learnt from Prof. Zuppi all this would not have been possible.