The third and final field season is upon us! And I must admit, I am sad and excited all at the same time. I’m a bit sad because it means this is (possibly) the last time I will be able to stay with the people in these villages who we’ve been working with for three years now. The team and I have made friendships with so many people, they know our stories and we know theirs, we have inside jokes and the kids enjoy our company, and everyone is keeping tabs about when Rosi and Mesu will make it back from Dubai and New Zealand. Of course, this isn’t to say that these friendships have to end once the fieldwork is over, Una and Vini have found long-lost relatives in many of the villages, but the opportunity to meet again becomes limited. However, we will return next year, January 2020, to deliver the final research results to the village communities, as well as to other stakeholders. We won’t stay in each village for more than a day though, so this really is the last hurrah.
Before I go on, find out more about our newest team member, Vini, on the People Page!
I am excited though too! I am excited to be able to process the data and identify some key research findings that will be helpful, interesting, and exciting for the villages to see and put to use in their daily lives. There is a lot of data to process, and I will need to focus on entering and analyzing data that will have the greatest, most direct benefit to the people we work with, before focusing on some of the larger scale applications of the work. I designed the project to cater for both, very important, needs. As as I said above, this is only possibly the end of the project, down the line if funding becomes available, I can continue this project and keep working in Fiji in these villages.
Why are we back in the field?
But lets get to the reason we are going back out for a third time, which is actually two-fold.
So first, we need to do the dietary recalls surveys again (this is the third time now). This will capture what diets look like during cyclone season when there has been no cyclone since Fiji has been lucky not to receive any major cyclones in the past three three years.
The second reason is to record biodiversity of the agroforests and look at how individual trees that were damaged in Cyclone Winston have recovered three years post-cyclone as well.
This information will be used to help us understand the connection between agroforests and dietary nutrition in Fiji, the dynamics of agroforest recovery post-cyclone, the health status of diets in these villages, and how diets change when cyclones damage agroforest resources.
On the Water Again
We set sail, which I say almost literally, for our first villages in Taveuni last month. We decided to go by boat this time because out team was bigger (3 people) and we had more luggage and supplies to carry. We board the boat in Suva at around 4pm and wait while the cargo and other passengers are loaded, then the boat makes a quick stop in Savusavu, Vanua Levu to drop off other passengers, and then finally make our way to Taveuni arriving around noon the next day. The total sail time is about 8 hours.
Then, when we arrived in Taveuni, our driver, Jone, picked us up at the jetty and of we went to our village sites! We spent about a week and half in total collecting the data. It went surprisingly faster this time around, although that is probably due to their being less to set up and more to just simply record.
Next Stop, Vanua Levu