I was hoping to be back in my study communities this week to continue my interviews where I left off, but fieldwork is always an unpredictable business. While I was in the U.S. for the last few weeks, my colleagues at CEDIC arranged to have my field vehicle (with the dead battery, defunct alternator, and flat tire) towed back by their field biologist who was making a trip close by. The Pajerito is safely back in Asuncion, but still getting worked on by the mechanic.
I have yet to have a problem-free trip into the Chaco with the Pajerito, which leaves me with a difficult decision. As I see it, I can attribute my problems with the Pajerito to one of two causes: (a) all of my previous troubles with the Pajerito stemmed from the alternator (which is highly plausible), or (b) all of my previous troubles with the Pajerito stemmed from the Pajerito simply not being sturdy enough for the dusty, hot Chaco (which is also highly plausible). Automatic vehicles tend to have very sensitive electrical systems that don’t do well under these conditions. From here on out it is really important that I have reliable transportation, and I’m not inclined to gamble on the Pajerito, so after the repairs are finished I’m trading it in.
Not sure what exactly I’m trading in for, but I’m looking at dirt bikes and quads. I would initially need to transport a bike or quad out to the study communities with a pickup truck (or the omnibus might even be able to take a bike out there). But then I would have the run of the country and it would cost significantly less fuel. We’ll see what happens…
In the meantime I’m doing some more data entry and working on side projects. There’s always lots to do.