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Weather conditions

» RCLT fieldwork manual home

Many of our field sites have very different weather conditions, extreme and constant heat; cyclones, tsunami, persistent rain, high humidity and so on. These can be very difficult to live with and manage.

Sometimes you might find the weather conditions hamper your ability to work because you are not accustomed to that type of weather. This is not your fault.

Questions you need to know the answers to:

  • Do I know what kind of weather conditions I will possibly encounter?
  • Have I got the right equipment, clothing etc. to manage it?
  • Is travel possible at all times?
  • What risks are involved in travel in bad weather?

In June 2002 I was in PNG for an extended trip. After four months in the village I was desperate for a break and when an excuse came along I took a single engine outboard motor dinghy on the open ocean at the height of the rainy season to get to town. I travelled against the advice of local people. The ocean was brown with run-off from torrential rain and littered with logs bigger than the boat. It was also very windy and often the boat was dwarfed by the waves. The skills of the boat operator kept me safe but I would never do it again. I was lucky not to have drowned.

-- Tonya Stebbins

On my first trip to Papua New Guinea, I had to wear clothes with long sleeves and legs because of the mosquitoes. I switched to short trousers one day, and regretted it during the night as the mosquito bites would itch so much I couldn’t sleep. I tried to use repellent but that made me sweat even more. On my second trip, I got gradually used to the mosquitoes and could wear short trousers during the day. To cope with the heat, I also try to schedule sessions with consultants during the cooler parts of the day, before noon or after sunset; neither myself nor the locals can concentrate in the afternoon heat.

-- Gerd Jendraschek