Update: I’ve been working hard on various things (acquiring materials for the field, translating a training manual for my field assistants, adjusting census questions, writing formal letters to collaborators, going to a talk at the National University of Asunción, writing grant applications, and more). If all goes as planned, I should be heading to the Chaco by the end of this week (if not earlier).
A lot of the logistical decisions I need to make for the study (particularly community selection) can’t be made from Asunción. I need to see the communities and talk with people in person. So the first trip out is going to be mostly exploratory, but at the same time I want to take enough supplies to hang out for a while if things look like they are going to work out.
The delays in the study have made me a bit nervous. I have a return flight at the end of December, and I need to pack in a lot of data collection before then. The lengthiest part of the data collection is the time allocation observations, which are now on schedule to take place during the hottest part of the Chaco summer (December-January). Time allocation observations involve watching people continuously for a certain number of hours and recording their activities and other behaviours of interest. The climate in the Chaco is very similar to Arizona, so imagine the very pale, Canadian me sitting outdoors watching people for 8 hours a day in 45 Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) heat. It’s going to be very uncomfortable. Oh well, it’s good data!
Now for random photos of things that make me smile:
This is Olly, beloved pet of the family I’m staying with. She makes hilarious noises. She can’t understand my accent, so I have a hard time rescuing my feet from her mouth once they get in there.
This is Hugo, one of the students working in the CEDIC lab. His T-shirt is awesome: “SCIENCE: It works, bitches.”
My professor in Paraguay has wire sculptures of the insect vectors she studies. So cool. I think the mosquito with its bum up is Anopheles and the mosquito with its bum down is Aedes (don’t quote me on that, I’m no entomologist). On the bottom left is a vinchuca (kissing bug).
Paraguayans really like their mate (hot drink for cold weather) or terere (cold drink for hot weather). They carry thermoses (as on the left) around with them all day everywhere they go to refill their cups. They drink mate/terere with a special straw called a bombilla. This is just a sample of the all the mate/terere paraphernalia in a four person family, I couldn’t fit it all into the picture. I’m trying to find a thermos of my own so I can fit in better.