ICCBHG Conference

September 26, 2010

I just attended the ICCBHG, the International Conference on Congo Basin Hunter Gatherers in France, a meeting of specialists on the people living in the Congo Basin in Central Africa (www.cefe.cnrs.fr/ibc/Conference/ICCBHG.htm).

I was very lucky, as it was the first time in ten years that the conference took place, and it has been an amazing week, where I learned so much about Central Africa, its peoples and the current political issues as well as practical stuff I will face when I travel there. I also gave my first academic talk…

The best thing was that I got to share all the information and the excitement with my friend and colleague Cathryn, who will also be working with the Baka (like me), but she will be doing her field research in Cameroon, where the majority of the Baka live.

Cathryn and me enjoying the Mediterranean sights of Montpellier, South of France


Preparations

September 21, 2010

Going on a one-year trip to the jungle necessitates quite some preparation. Many people have already given incredible support, and over the last few days, I started taking photos of some of them…

Juergen took me on a ‘forest orienteering course’, in a large woodland setting in between Cologne and the old German capital Bonn …

Juergen explaining the finer points of using a compass

Returning from our 'expedition' with beautiful fresh mushrooms for dinner

My local chemist Uschi patiently explained to me the purpose of medications I have done everything to avoid for the last ten years. It seems a good idea to take them though; the jungle bugs might be stronger than me, at first.

Uschi's expert advice left me feeling really confident, and healthy

After due consideration, I decided to get a second-hand so-called Toughbook, a laptop which is supposed to withstand humidity and other extreme conditions. Getting the Toughbook was a little adventure in itself, travelling to M├Ânchengladbach, a town about 45 mins north of Cologne, where shop-owner Alex introduced me to the technology of tablet PCs.

Alex with my new 'jungle data box'

My 'Toughbook' business look


Hello world!

September 5, 2010

Keeping up with the title given by wordpress, hello world! I am about to spend one year with the Baka, a group of forest foragers who live in the tropical rainforest in Gabon in Central Africa. This project is the fieldwork part of my PhD, but more importantly a ten-year old dream come true. I am very excited, and decided I would like to use a blog to document my experiences and share them with you. I have never blogged before, and am not sure how often I will be able to post once in the field, so I hope you will just enjoy the posts as they come.

Doerte