Over the course of the last two weeks, I have learned a few practical lessons about doing field work for my Kiva fellowship.
1. Prepare for a bumpy ride, whether on the back of a motorcycle, inside a microbus, or in a taxi. The roads inside the city limits can be treacherous enough, but this morning we were fully off-roading in our chariot of the day:
2. Don't count on a taxi being more roomy and comfortable than a microbus; there were four of us in the back seat.
3. Wear slip-on shoes. The borrower meetings are either conducted inside someone's home or outside on handwoven straw mats:
In both places shoes are not welcome. I can quickly step out of my TOMS, but they may not hold up for much longer on the dusty and rocky roads:
4. Do not count on a bathroom break or a lunch break. At best, you may be served some hot buffalo's milk:
Or you may buy some delicious organic vegetables for a later meal, as I did today when I saw this cauliflower (note the nifty scale):
5. Similarly, cart your own water. Water looks lovely in these traditional vessels, but it is not for drinking:
6. Children are adorable. No lesson here. Just noting. Again.
7. Cows are friendly:
But tigers are not. Schedule your field visits late enough in the morning to ensure that any predators have already left the scene. I am not making this up: when we arrived at the village this morning, the women told us that a tiger had been spotted just a few hours before!