Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Return from Eden: Lessons learned in "The Field"

At last, I'm back from a week-long field trip to the glorious Volta Region . All part of my job as a medical researcher. Our surroundings were serene and beautiful, the people extremely friendly and all insects, mosquitoes, gnats etc. were extra hungry! I'm still covered in all sorts of strange rashes but it was worth it. The field-trip had given me a lot of angst before-hand but in the end it was not the logistical nightmare scenario that I had dreamed up. It was full of valuable lessons that have definitely enriched my life and made me a better person. Mmm, perhaps I exaggerate but:


  • When sharing a guest-house with a so-called Man of God, be sure to bring ear-plugs unless you want to groove to the "Thong Song" at 3am or other hits of the late 90s
  • You can keep in touch with the outside world thru MTN internet. Nothing like updating your facebook status while you walk through someone's cassava farm
  • You can keep in touch with Blogs through Google Reader on your phone via MTN internet..So much fun! You can read but not really blog.
  • Bring strong insect repellent or risk being covered by strange bumps
  • Make sure you do not have any pages missing from photocopies you pick-up from the printers BEFORE sitting down with people in their home to administer questionnaires. Can be very embarrassing when you have to stop when you realize page 3 and 4 are mysteriously absent.
  • Politely decline when offered Akpeteshie (local gin) when administering a questionnaire or you may find yourself downing 2 shots and being rendered dazed and confused. Alas, it was a hard lesson learnt for a young man in my group
  • Make sure you secure your trash above ground or goats will attack!
  • When you are leading a team that includes men much older than you, you will have to baby-sit them. If not, they WILL connive to avoid work and be preoccupied with arranging the purchase of goats to take back home with them
  • When you call your mom to lament about having to baby-sit grown men who are more interested in procuring goats than field-work, she will definitely empathize with you and give good advice. Alas, she may also ask how much goats are being sold for over there and how hard it is to procure one to bring home!
It was a good trip but it is great to be back. I missed my bed, missed my daily cup (or two) of Kenyan coffee (*yum*) and of course, missed my blog!


Anonymous said...

He he. Sounds like fun! So.....did you get to buy a goat or what?

Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

Nice to hear about you getting around, and doing a great job while at it, too!

Nana said...

The "thong song"? Oh dear. I am seriously thinking of now getting an internet compatible phone. Are all phones internet compatible or is it just the cool iphones?

Nana Darkoa

Abena said...

@Anon...we had loaded up our Ford with all our stuff so there was no space for goats in our ride.

Apparently the pricing is much better than in the city so I guess I understand the interest.

Abena said...

Thanks Nana Yaw! I'm most definitely getting around :)

Abena said...

Alas, Nana, it was the "Thong song" along with other unpastor-like hits. In fact, the bottles of Alomo in the kitchen are making me doubt if he was actually a pastor! I think most handsets are internet compatible..Mine is a not-so-cool Samsung slide phone and it works pretty well. Phone internet-ting is my latest obsession!

posekyere said...

There you go Ohemaa.
Ghana needs committed and hardworking technocrats like you. Good to see that you are not sitting in an office but in the field doing real research,.
Bless you!!

B.O.N.T.I said...

sounds lyk you had loads off fun..baby-sitting and all...

Abena said...

Thanks Posekyere! Most of the time it really does not feel that research is helping communities especially in the short-term....but we always try to make sure there is some sort of immediate benefit.

Abena said...

*LOL* Bonti, you know how much I looooove baby-sitting!

novisi said...

now i wish i was on that trip.

i love to have me treated to a nice baby-sitting feast!

work + fun = fun!

can't have it any better when you enjoy what you do!