Wednesday. V leaves at about five in the morning for the city and I am left alone (ah peace) to prepare for the field. I am so proud that I remember everything but this feeling is quickly squashed as I run into Don V and Don Br on the road. They have brought my breakfast (eggs and yucca and an entire liter of chamomile with an entire cup of sugar. I know it was this much sugar because it was in the same cup I drank out of.) As it turns out, I am running late. By the time we have walked to the plot, set up our gear, and fertilized a few trees, A has arrived…bearing Oreos! I could have kissed him. (For those unaware, Oreos were my Peace Corps crack. By the end of my service I had a two pack a day habit.) We finish up the plot pretty quickly and head across the road to set up another.
At this point we have settled on an experimental design of two .25ha plots every 2.5km at a distance of 300m from the road. This results in having to climb straight up a 300m incline. The guys are impressed that I make it, joking that I should bring a flag to leave at the summit, but are less impressed when I can’t get down. A and I return to the school to work (weighing soil and plants and stuff) in complete silence. Not a word. I am not sure if this is good or not.
Thursday. I woke up to find my eyes all swollen. I don’t have a mirror but A confirms that I’m looking a little Asian. As I’m packing A hands me not only oreos but an apple! And a packet of api! This makes me feel inexplicably sad and I start to cry. A doesn’t notice and if he does he attributes it to my puffy face. It’s been interesting what I think about when left to my own devices. On day 2 it was “Oh my god. I am going to dies childless and alone!” On day 3: “Boy I’d love to just sit around and watch a few episodes of Bones.” Day 4: “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck?”
Anyway that day we decide to give our legs a rest and do a flat plot closer to home. Unfortunately there are very few large trees so it is very difficult to find a place to pee without blinding everyone with my bright white ass. This has become my every day concern. Pack stuff, choke down wild pig breakfast, set up plot, find place to pee. My low point of each day happens around lunch time when it’s hottest, I am faced with yet another plate of squooshy noodles and the little tiny bees are flocking around my head. They don’t bite or sting they just bother.
That night I wet wipe bathe and wash my hair because it no longer moves on its own. I also eat my apple and it’s the best one I have ever had.
Bug bite count: elevated due to unfortunately too-short pants.