Training and Dangers
Nobody will be asked to collect data until s/he is comfortable with all protocols. Thus, initial periods on site are usually spent accompanying field assistants, helping with data collection where possible, and especially improving Kiswahili. Throughout this process, researchers will also be expected to help with Project records and administration, and assist with data entry and organization. Schedule and work can be decided mutually with the site manager.
Malaria: With camp in a remote location and at 1600m, there are few mosquitos at camp or throughout the study site. Rather, the highest risk of malaria infection is in the towns, especially Kigoma and Uvinza (in Dar es Salaam, malaria has been largely eradicated). Prophylaxis is recommended for anyone visiting the area. There are also malaria tests at camp, and malaria treatment can be bought from pharmacies in Kigoma.
Wildlife: Almost all animals are afraid of people, and everything from chimpanzees to leopards regularly flee from research teams. Snakes are most often encountered in the late wet season (Feb-April), but even then, rarely. Volunteers walk behind trained field assistants who are keen at detecting and avoiding snakes and any other dangers. To date, not a single incident of snake aggression has been recorded at camp and nobody has yet been bitten. However, do not be complacent; there are cobras, mambas, puff adders and more present. There are few biting/stinging invertebrates other than tsetse flies (patchily distributed) and honey bees (if you are allergic to beestings, this could be an issue). However, “sweat bees” (small stingless bees) are sometimes very abundant. They are attracted to sweat and can be very annoying as they drink from one’s body (especially corners of the eyes). Fine-mesh headnets are recommended.
Accident: All researchers are recommended to travel with a small first aid kit, although basic first aid medical supplies are available at camp. All researchers are requested to take out comprehensive travel insurance and recommended to become members of AMREF Flying doctors (www.amref.org). In the event of an emergency, the project vehicle will take the injured person either to Uvinza, Kigoma, or Kasulu, for emergency medical treatment, or to the airstrip in Uvinza for evacuation (e.g. by AMREF), depending on the severity of the issue.