May 12th, 2011 – The last three days, I was visiting our East and South Africa Regional Office (ESARO) in Nairobi. I was warmly welcomed by our IDRC colleagues – Asante sana (thank you very much in Swahili) everyone!
The purpose of this stopover was to take the careful steps to prepare for the upcoming fieldwork in Rwanda. I took care of the jet lag and set up the meetings in Kigali with expert informants. They are programme officers at Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) and researchers at the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research in Rwanda (IPAR-Rwanda), a local think tank group. Also, I was able to get some valuable insights and feedback from the regional experts – our own IDRC senior specialists.
Despite my best efforts to take extra precautions, unexpected things still happened. I got a big surprise yesterday as my main local partner, the veterinarian at the Ngoma District where my study is planned to take place, sent me an email saying that he is currently in Egypt for professional training and will only be back in late August! O Mon Dieu, he was the “main” local expert. I am sure there will be a replacement during his absence, but he was the one that I have been keeping in touch and have built a relationship. The most significant issue here is not having the local expertise and logistic capacity to get the field work done in time. I am caught by surprise at this turn of event, but at the same time, I feel better that this unknown surfaced right at the beginning than later. So I decided not to panic yet. I will meet my other informants as scheduled and will see how things shape from there. O Mon Dieu…this is just the beginning – Ça commence bien! OMD, I will be repeating these three precious words a lot (my mantra on the field!!).
Some photos at the ESARO office in Nairobi.