3rd Post: Back in the field
I am back in Nepal, after a rather long and sleepless couple of flights (you thought I would say nights didn't you?). At the airport upon arrival, I found myself thanking the immigration officer with a warm 'khob-kun-Krub'. It was in Thai instead of Nepali. A common mistake when you are too tired to fully remember where you are, I guess.
I came to accompany and supervise our base-line survey. The last couple of days were spent with NDRI (see picture on the left), the local survey-company we are working with, going over the questionnaires and sampling decisions, and representing Tel Aviv University's and George Washington University's side of things. Now that all that is completed, tomorrow morning the field surveyors will finally head to Ramechhap to start the base-line survey.
Also tomorrow, Matan, a TAU masters student in psychology and one of this study's research associates will join me in Kathmandu. First thing next week we will both head out to Ramechhap as well, to spend some time in the field. I am fully prepared with good hiking shoes, sun screen, and an umbrella (monsoon season is not completely over. Post-monsoon they call it). There we plan to join the NGO's local staff already there and observe the progress of the preparations towards the commencement of the project in the area. In addition we plan to visit a neighboring VDC (village development community) called Dimipokhari. It has been chosen to function as our control area. In selected wards of Dimipokhari we plan to introduce a more basic agricultural extension program to function as a comparison group to the more holistic community-based agricultural extension model planned in Hiledevi VDC. After controlling for various covariates, the difference in outcomes between the two areas will serve as the estimated additional effect of this unique intervention program.
Although I dread the thought of again hiking distances beyond my very modest capabilities and eating Dal-Baht all the time (rice and beans. Hate it), I am glad to get the chance to visit the region once more. Being in the field enables one to think about possible problems and additional ideas that do not necessarily pop up in your head when sitting in front of excel sheets in your office in Tel Aviv. Hmm, when I think about it, I don't really have an office – but I stand by this statement nonetheless.
Until next time,