We’ve been planning a thorough field work schedule for months ahead with more places in Sabah to cover. But for this year first trip, from 7th to 14th April, we’ve gone to the same place again. I thought this time it will be more adventurous since in the plan, we were supposed to go to a hot malaria spot, Sonsogon Magandai – a very remote area that cannot be assessed by car and will took you an hour or more walking to the villages. The kind of place that you have to stay overnight there with no electricity and water. Sounds like I'm going to a camping trip. Interesting huh?
|Do I look like a scientist? No?|
But! (lol, what an anti-climax)
But it was raining every evening in Kota Marudu. For safety reason, we had to postpone our trip to Sonsogon and proceed with a normal routine, visiting the villages with recent malaria cases nearby. And God, this is the most tiring field work I’ve ever been! The rain is no joke! Our land rover got stuck in the mud on the first day when we went to Lembiding. And we were not able to go to the village down the hill because of the flood.
|Raining oh so heavily!|
|Waiting for the rain to stop in the unfinished house. We were so lucky to not have to get ourselves drenched.|
|Our land rover got stuck in the mud|
|To avoid dying of a heart attack (because of the thrill in the land rover), we decided to walk the slippery road.|
|Half an hour later, the driver managed to get our land rover back on track :DDD|
|Working till night.|
And I’ve met with Kelly, a student from California. She joined the trip for four days. Super friendly Kelly!
On the fifth day, we decided to go back to Lembiding. The flood have runoff but the road was really bad, so we had to walk to the village. Going down the hill is easy but I almost couldn’t make it back up where we parked our land rover. I was physically exhausted when we reach the unfinished house that we used for shelter from the rain the other day. We rested for about 10 minutes before continue our journey. The Sabah staff told me that going to Sonsongon is twice harder than this! I told my team that I would rather got fired than going to Sonsogon! (Of course I'm kidding!)
|Happy faces because at this moment, I really thought that I am prepared mentally and physically for the challenge.|
|And the journey starts.|
|Already drenched in sweat but still maintain for camera.|
|Almost an hour later: Do not care about camera anymore.|
|Had to cross the river (and cool off a bit)|
|Finally arrived at the village. Catching up my breathe before the screening started. Phew!|
|Had trouble standing straight during the interview :P|
We didn't get many positive case. Reason could be the weather. It was raining almost everyday, so villagers movement were limited, thus reduced the chances for mosquito biting. We only got one positive for P. malariae from hospital and one P. vivax from active case detection. And because of that, we went to do screening until the last day we were in Kota Marudu.
And I really couldn't get myself into the mood of photography. I don't know why. The only interesting shot I got with Sam is this shot of beetle. If that could even spark an interest.
|Poor beetle got a splash of color.|
But at the end of the day, this trip is still fun. Even though I often have this dreadful feeling about not wanting to go to field work anymore – throwing tantrum a week before and while packing my bag – I actually felt the opposite when I’m there. At least, that’s how I feel with Kota Marudu so far. Yeah. Till the next update, be good people!