Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This week sucks

This week just hasn't gone very well so far.

On Sunday we had a brownout, meaning we had about half the electricity output that we normally have. My computer runs on that (thank goodness) but most other things don't, including my phone charger (isn't that strange that I can run my MacBook but I can't charge a cell phone battery?). The brownout wasn't so bad, but it meant I couldn't print and had to hand write some data sheets.
On Monday we still didn't have full power. One of my field assistants, B, had missed the one bus back to Nyota on Sunday afternoon and was stuck in the town trying to get a lift. So, it was just me and T, but we were supposed to visit 2 sites, and T was an hour late because he had some motorbike trouble. B never showed up. We only got one site done on Monday. (Thankfully, we did get full power back on Monday afternoon so I could print).

Tuesday was really the worst confluence of problems. We were supposed to do 2 sites to put us back on schedule, and we were picking up a fourth person (me, B, T, and the other guy). For your reading convenience, I am bulleting the sequence of events.

-B called and said he was back in Nyota but had motorbike trouble and needed to go to the mechanic and didn't know when he'd be finished.
-T showed up 20 minutes late, but couldn't start work yet because he had to pick up his son from the clinic (he has malaria), take him home, and then pick up the other guy.
-We changed the plan to go to one other site that was closer when I realized there was no way we'd finish 2 sites.
-I started walking the 5 km to the site because T had to carry other people and B was at the mechanic.
-I called B and told him to leave his motorbike with the mechanic, get a lift as far as he could, and then start walking to the site.
-T passed me going the other way on the road because when he went to pick up the other guy (2 hours late), he wasn't at his house because he started walking to where we were supposed to be that day. The other guy has no phone, so T takes off to go find him.
-I arrive at the site and wait around for while. I repeatedly call B to ask where he is.
-T gets to the other site, and the other guy left a note that he's headed home.
-I start working by myself.
-T still doesn't find the other guy, so picks up another other guy instead. They arrive FOUR HOURS after we were supposed to start working. They have to do something in a different place, so I continue working alone. Still no word from B.
-I work by myself for 3.5 hours until T and another other guy are able to help me finish.
-After I got home, I finally talked to B. He had gotten a lift part way to the site, but forgot his bag (with his phone in it) in the car...

Today we set out to do two sites again (to really get back on track). T and B were both 15-20 minutes late. B was only able to repair one of his two motorbike problems, and now T's motorbike had two broken spokes. This morning I had to decide what was better: getting on the motorbike with broken spokes or the motorbike with the faulty clutch plate. I went with the clutch plate. Whatever. It was fine. The crappy thing that happened today is that I lost my Rite in the Rain pen and we searched for about 15 minutes to no avail. I hate losing those because they are expensive and not easy to replace. I started using the fine tip on my double-ended sharpie. Then, right at the end of the day, I lost the damn little black cap. Once again, we searched (with four people) for 10 or 15 minutes without success. Guess what? We only got one site done.

Tomorrow we're supposed to visit 3 sites. Please send some good vibes my way!


Angie said...

What an unlucky streak! Here's my wish that you'll have a better day tomorrow!

African Fieldworker said...

esh, that stinks, hope the rest of the week is better. alas, sounds like the usual fieldwork (I actually went 50km to town the other day, only to find that there was no power in the while town, which had been announced by newspaper- a newspaper I can only get if I go to town!). And I'd gone entirely for things needing electricity (yay for generators). Transport in the field is always a limiting factor; my site is far from my house, so rain or car problems = no work. Any way of minimizing that kind of problem is priceless.

EcoGeoFemme said...

Yuck! I hope next week goes better.