Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day 1

Today I got to the office at 6:30 AM (on a Sunday, yes). I checked all the questionnaires, made sure the bags were packed up right, and made my breakfast. One of the teams got out straight at 6:30, I was so proud of them. The others had to wait for cars to be fuelled, team members to show up, etc. Most everyone had left by 7:30 though, not too bad.

I went in to grab the backpack for my team, only to find someone else UNPACKING it! They had decided to switch their team's bag with mine. Argh! So there was a last-minute panic as I got things from their backpack that belonged to my team, etc. Then we hit the road at 8. And the driver THEN tells me he has no fuel. Then one of the team members wants to stop for water. Then we have to go to the hospital to pick up a height board because we were one short. So finally we were on the road at 8:30.

The Ministry of Health loaned us a pickup truck for data collection. It has to be pushed in order to start, and it's a single-cab, meaning that one of my data collectors had to ride in the bed. And there are no seatbelts.

Fortunately, there are no shocks either, so the driver can't go too fast. Anyway, it was an interesting drive.

We went to three communities today. The first stop is always the chief's house, where we get permission to do the survey, and have them help us map out the community so that we can sample the first house. Then it's time to walk. We go house to house, until we've found all the kids we need. This usually take about an hour and a half in each community, and a LOT of walking. And man, was it hot today. Like Dante's Inferno hot. I think I lost about three pounds in water weight. I drank 2 liters of water, but didn't pee for 10 hours. Yikes.

I do like getting out in the field, but I feel so nasty now - dirty, sweaty, hair all napped up from the wind. I am back in the office at 7, waiting for the other teams (who I think probably just went home without coming to the office first!) but what I am dreaming about is the nice, long, cooooold shower I am going to take tonight.