Well I have officially completed my first week here at Noloholo and in some ways, it feels like I have been here forever. Not in a bad way at all – in a comfortable way. My time in Arusha seems like much longer ago than just last week. I have fallen into the routine of living here – breakfast a little after seven, at work around eight, lunch around one, stop work sometime between five thirty and six thirty, dinner at seven thirty, then bed between eight thirty and nine. Probably a nine o’clock bedtime sounds really early to many of you (and I’m back in my room by nine…not really in bed for a bit longer), but being out here is surprisingly tiring. And the sun goes down really early – it is completely dark by seven. Conceptually, I knew that being this close to the equator, the days would be half light and half dark, but it’s still a bit weird!
I spent some time this week getting my bearings and figuring out my role here. I tackled the first data organization project this week in GIS and I think I have it figured out (think being the operative word here). Over the next several weeks, I’ll hopefully be running some population density analysis using distance sampling for some of the ungulates and start experimenting with camera traps for carnivore surveys. APW would also like to start using QGIS as their geospatial analysis software program, so I’m tasked with learning some of the ropes so I can teach a few of the staff here. I’m hoping I can put together a manual of some of the basic tasks for them to use as a quick reference. Whatever the next two months bring, they are sure to be busy and I will certainly learn quite a bit!