Saturday, February 12, 2011

Practical Lessons from Field Work

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:

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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:

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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:

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4. Do not count on a bathroom break or a lunch break. At best, you may be served some hot buffalo's milk:

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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):

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5. Similarly, cart your own water. Water looks lovely in these traditional vessels, but it is not for drinking:

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6. Children are adorable. No lesson here. Just noting. Again.

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7. Cows are friendly:

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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!


DA said...

8. Always bring an iPod, a book, a box of Pepto and a roll of toilet paper.


Anonymous said...

Love this. Particularly the part about bathroom breaks. You may think you need that tea or coffee at 4:45am but it will come back to bite you.

Claudine said...

David and Alexis,

You are both very wise. Duly noted for next marathon field day.