So it's been another insane week. Our Independent Research Projects officially started today, and my whole life has revolved around getting mine set up. In case you don't know, we have exactly four months to do a study of something - anything, really. We have to do a certain number of hours of field work, and then we have to put together a paper at the end, which we will present to our fellow students and professors, etc., in the beginning of May. Due to the crisis, we could only do our projects within 120 km of Ft. Dauphin or within 120 km of Nosy Be, a touristy tropical island off the northern coast. Half of us flew up there on Wednesday. Some of my friends have also already left near here to enter the forest to count trees and bugs and stuff. Predictably, I still didn't know exactly what I was going to be doing until VERY recently. But now, it seems pretty certain that I'll be in the commune of Analapatsy, which is a couple hours away from Ft. Dauphin, on the beach. I will be looking at the agriculture of the area, and specifically the role that the NGO CARE has had in the area. I will be essentially evaluating the evectiveness of their programs. CARE representatives have expressed that my study will be helpful to them, and that's all I care about... that my study will serve some kind of purpose.
I have a guide, who is a ridiculous musician named Safidy. Another student is going to the same place so we'll probably be camping together with her guide.
Today we went to the market at bought all our food for the next three weeks (that we will give to a cook we hire on site). I have a lot more respect for our program coordinator. I have no idea if we have enough, or if we bought enough rice for a small country. I'll get back to you.
So, I leave tomorrow morning, and I'll probably be in the field for almost three weeks. I'll essentially be without phone, and certainly without computer. So I will be completely out of touch, just in case you were wondering.
Ear update! On saturday, my ear was kind of reinfected and still perforated and the insurance company in the states (which SIT enlisted) required that I see a specialist asap. So the insurance company flew someone down to Fort Dauphin from Tana to look in my ear on Monday. Awesome. He was happy because he got a free vacation. And I got to get my head x-rayed. No worries, nothing came of it. All I got was some more medications, and some awesome yellow ear drops that make my hands and ear persistently yellow. But happily, it seems that it's much better because my hearing is so much better. Almost 100 percent. Still won't be swimming any time soon. Or flying. Not for a month at least.
Ok, so wish me luck in the field. Apparently there is NO fruit to be found there, which worries me greatly. And no chocolate or dessert to speak of. Sad.
Maybe when I emerge back into civilization, Madagascar will have another president.
Anyways, hope everyone is well.