Just Say No

I first thought of writing this post in late March. I was then in the thick of my research, and had just experienced a couple of examples of the phenomenon that I outline below. I imagine that what I write will feel familiar to others who have undertaken ethnographic research in less economically developed countries. … Continue reading Just Say No

Picture The Scene

Week Five was an incredibly long and dispiriting week, in which I hung around, failed to do interviews, and was generally hard on myself. I started to write a blog post about my largest bugbear, which was my continuing difficulty in communicating in Spanish to the level I’d like, and then – the post felt … Continue reading Picture The Scene

First impressions

It’s been a busy week! I am writing from my bunkbed in Fuego’s observatory, OVFGO1, in the village of Panimaché Uno (here). I am taking today (Friday 22nd February) off after conducting interviews between Monday and Thursday in the villages of Panimaché Uno, Panimaché Dos, Los Yucales, and Morelia. I am tired, but really stoked … Continue reading First impressions

A sense of scale

For my first blog post while in Guatemala this spring, I thought I would write about scales of time and distance. It’s something I think a lot about, especially because my research is split between two distant countries, and because 2.5 years into my PhD, I have rather more time to reflect on than to … Continue reading A sense of scale

Loma Linda

Guatemalan currency includes the one quetzal, that appears as either a crumpled green note or a round golden coin that flashes in the sun when new. A Q1 coin (approximately 10p) bears on one side the signature of the Accord of Firm and Lasting Peace, signed in Guatemala City on 29th December 1996 after three … Continue reading Loma Linda

A glimpse through the clouds

Perfect day for an eruption!

I recently gave my second-year talk at university, which involved preliminary results from our previous fieldwork campaign to Guatemala in November 2017. In my PowerPoint I embedded a short video on some extraordinary eruptive activity that we observed from Fuego's summit vents. Of course the video didn't work (does it ever?)*, so I decided I'd … Continue reading A glimpse through the clouds

Holding back the wave

At some point in the second year of your PhD, there comes a wave of fear. I learned about this phenomenon in my first months here: while preparing coffee in the Common Room, friends would whisper of mysteries like "The Second-Year Blues", or "The Valley of Shit". Now that I'm in their position, I get … Continue reading Holding back the wave

Return to writing

According to my front page, I last published a post six months ago. Yikes! Keeping up a regular blog was one of my resolutions for last year that fizzled out. That isn't to say that writing has completely slipped my mind. Quite the opposite: there have been many moments in 2017 that I really wanted … Continue reading Return to writing