Right now I’m living in what feels like the most remote place on earth. My Dutch telephone doesn’t work over here and now even my Peruvian phone cannot find a connection. I’m living in a so called ‘hospedaje’ and I can say that the price and quality ratio does make sense. It is almost free, but only at 6.00AM I have running water that is ice and ice cold.
I need to wake up around 5.55am to collect the water in a big bucket so I can use water later that day to flush the toilet for example. I can’t trust the electricity system neither. One night I already went to bed around 7PM because my laptop ran out of battery and I didn’t had light to do something else. In the entire village there is one cable for internet connection available for me. This is in the conference room of the municipality where I’m sitting between boxes with documents and paintings of faces of former mayors of the municipality.
The thing is: I love it!
I will be doing my research in this village and I have to live here for more than a month. I’m spending my days with talking with the villagers, playing volleyball with them, working on the farm fields and doing research such as interviews.
In the first week I arrived, I had a different task together with another Wageningen student: Timon Weitkamp. We are both doing our research in collaboration with Condesan and they wanted some data from two measurement points in the mountains nearby where I am living. Collecting the data means doing some measurements every hour for 24 hours around 4000 m.a.s.l. We had to do this at two different locations which are both more or less a 2 hour walk from the village. After these 24hours they wanted us to do a land classification, which meant walking around for 8 hours and write down data about the land use. This might sound boring but it was awesome!
On the picture you can see the tent we were living in and the amazing view we had. It was a real physical challenge to hike to our measurement points because we had to carry all our stuff and the path was very steep. On our way back to the village we even got lost several times. However, I think those 24hours were very special. How often does it happen that you don’t have any plans for 24 hours except staying alive and doing some measurements every hour. Most of the time we were busy with finding wood to make a fire and cooking. We had to stay in motion otherwise you would get very cold, so we were hiking a lot. The view was amazing and around 6PM we could see a beautiful sunset. All night we spent on keep the fire burning and telling each other crazy stories.
This was an awesome experience of how academic research is also research in the field and not only a study behind a desk. The measurements we had to do were very similar to the experiments we have done in Wageningen but now our data will be used for real research and not just to get a mark.