Trotro Advice for Surviving Fieldwork

I was asked last semester to give a presentation at AU on unexpected fieldwork challenges. Since I was giving the presentation via Skype (I’m based in San Francisco), I knew I wanted visuals to anchor my talk, especially if something were to happen to the connection (and as it turned out, the video feed didn’t work).

So, I went through photos from fieldwork and found trotro (Ghana’s infamous bus service; watch Trotro Blues) and taxi emblems that succinctly summarized some of the points I wanted to share. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather, quick bits easily recalled in moments of fieldwork panic:


1. Be Patient: Fieldwork is challenging. Things will not go according to plan and this should be expected. Be patient with yourself and the process.

simple living

2. Simple Living, High Thinking: Try not to overcomplicate things. What do you want to know, and how can you find it out? Who might be able to help you get answers?

still happy

3. Self-care is Essential: When challenges arise, be kind and forgiving to yourself. Take breaks. Sleep in. Reach out to support networks.

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