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04/26/2012

On the First Trip to the Field Site

Today I would like to tell about transportation to the field site.

Our project for this year have just started this February. On the other hand, we are going to start preliminary research for 2013 program from this June. The future program will take place in two districts which are about 85 kilometers away from province capital Charika. Between these two districts, other two districts are located. On these districts in between, anti-government forces are still armed and active.

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Truck burned by anti-government forces is left on the road.

When we travel through these areas, we are usually given referral from the government in advance, so we can go through government's checkpoint smoothly. We also contact other organization operating in the same district to get safety information around the place. It is very important for us to work together with police, government and other aid organizations beforehand, especially in the first field trip like this time, and this country where we can find no detailed road map.

We had a field trip for the first time on this March and we had passed through all six checkpoints with no trouble. JEN staff brought letter from province mayor, and also letter that is saying that the car should not used for transportation of other passengers besides JEN staff. This letter is essential for staff's safety because, unlikely to Japan, people often ask drivers to share the ride. We took three hours to travel 85km to the destination, but without problem. Staff used SMS on mobile phone when they pass through the checkpoints. They used it to share information of where they are, time of departure from the field site and also to report whereabouts before they meet people.

Staff used trip meter on car to write down landmarks such as markets, bridges and distance to the checkpoint. This helped us to make a brief road map to the destination. We also made an emergency contact list. JEN will continue necessary preparation for next year's program by traveling to the field again and again.

April 26, 2012 in Afghanistan |