Saturday, November 27, 2010

"You can rest when it's Christmas"

Just posting a quick blog in one of my free moments, this way here you all know that I'm alive and doing well!
Let's see, last time I posted was a while ago and there have been a lot going on since then. I ended up getting to be in EP for DR, yay! I'm really happy for this, which is good because DR is our life now. We have spent the last week and a half preparing for and conducting field work. For EP, field work consists of going around our district and asking local agro-pastoralists a 77 question survey. Which is interesting but tiring work. We leave early each morning, pack lunch (I've decided I'll never be sick of PB&J, I've been eating that kind of sandwich for the last two weeks and I still love it!), meet up with our local guides/translators in Kimana and then head out into the field. We are broken up into partners and the average pair gets 8 surveys done per day. We are officially finished our field work now, yesterday was our last day, and we ended up with 275 questionnaires completed, which is a lot, but nowhere near our goal of 350. One thing we've learned is that anything that will go wrong with field work... will. For example one day, one of our cars got stuck in axle-deep mud not once, but twice and the groups in that car were only able to get 4 interviews done. And I personally have stayed back the last two days of field work so I could get all of the data entry done. Our previous method of leaving one person behind to tackle the previous days results was severely inefficient and when we only had 1 1/2 days entered by the 5th day of field work, Caitlin and I volunteered to stay back and get to work on it so it would be done by the day before data analysis (today). After 21,175 pieces of information entered (275 questionnaires x 77 questions = 7 days of interviews) and three days of sitting on my butt and looking at a computer screen I have to admit that I feel like I have significantly less brain cells and a much larger behind. 
Speaking of large behinds, we too celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday. It was actually really good, considering our limited resources and volunteer based cooking crew to get the dishes prepared. In the end, we sat down to a good meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green bean casserole, falafel (for the veggie-eaters), cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie! Funny story about the turkey... many of you have went to the store to buy turkey for T-Day. Not a big deal right? Well here in Kenya, we too can go to the store to buy a turkey, but the only difference is that instead of frozen, skinned, and already dead, these turkeys were feathered, alive, and bound. I actually accompanied Molly to go pick them up from the market Thanksgiving Day morning. One man traveled 1 hour to get the turkeys (an animal that's not readily available here) and had them on his ROOF just chillin'. We actually had to wait while he ran around chasing them with a rope, on his ROOF, before he caught them and shoved them in the back of the land cruiser... ALIVE. Yup, TIA! And of course what Thanksgiving is complete without playing some futbol? Yes, that's right... the staff (who don't really get why we celebrate Thanksgiving and most of whom refused to even try the turkey - "Maasai warriors don't eat birrrrrd!") convinced a group of us and our very stuffed stomachs to play our daily game of soccer, a recipe that of course ended with awful food cramps. Oh well, it was a great day overall, though I'm excited to come home to T-Day Round II! 
Which reminds me... I'm coming home so soon!!! 16 days!! CRAAZZZY! We still have so much work to do for our DR, I'm worried it's going to be hectic (even more than it is now, which is hard to imagine) to get it all done! We start data analysis tomorrow and then have to tackle our 50 page paper. Then on December 9th we present our research to the community. And then we are on a plane back to America. and I will be landing in Burlington on the 13th! ( I know some of you have been confused of the actually date, and I apologize for spreading that confusion because until recently I thought that I was landing on the 14th.)
Okay. I hope that's a good enough update for you all, because I'm going to bed! It's late and I'm beyond tired. 
xoxo Zee

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