Panic attack – Day 26

Posted on April 1, 2012

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Just when you think your research is going to plan, you realise you’ve got so much more to do and you question whether you’ve been complacent. Today I had a panic attack. Isaac came to see me in “my office”. It’s the room adjacent to my bedroom where everyone in House 4 can plug-in mobiles and laptops to recharge. I enter my data and blog in here every afternoon for several hours.

He bounced in (fully recovered from his toothache) and opened his fist to reveal three small yellow/green oval-shaped hard fruits.

“Do you know what fruits these are?” he said.

“Hmmmm I’d say Cordia, but they look too small to be Cordia millenii, and it’s not fruiting now!”

“So what is it?” he said probing.

“Maybe, Cordia africana?”

Isaac Ocitti

Isaac Ocitti

And that’s when I heard an almighty clang in my head and goose bumps hit the back of my neck. Isaac continued to witter on about something, but I’d lost interest and stopped listening. The sinking feeling in my stomach was the realisation that Moses and I had identified Cordia in the forest but I had not asked him to differentiated between the two species (africana or millenii). Oh f@ck I thought! I pride myself in being organised and like to tick things off. I absolutely hate having to repeat unnecessary work because I have not taken the time to think things through properly.

It’s not such a massive deal as I have to walk my transect lines daily in order to look for signs of primates, but I am so cross with myself for not checking the species. I’m not even sure if Moses knows the difference between the two species.

Tomorrow we are working with Alfred – an incredibly talented phenologist – who is helping me to identify the remaining trees in my plots in W21. Geoffrey has advised me to get Alfred to id the two different Cordia species tomorrow and see if Moses is able to recognise the difference. If so, then we can revisit all the Cordia in W21 and N5 together no problem. If not, I’ll have to wait until a phenology assistant is available again, which could take weeks. There are lots of students from Makerere University at Budongo at the moment and all resources are stretched.

I suppose the silver lining is I’ve acknowledged this issue now rather than back in London, but there’s still a lot of work to do.

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