Daily life and infrastructure
A portion of the Simenti camp comprises the researcher staff living quarters and other infrastructure such as a field lab, a kitchen, a storage room, and social areas. Team members live in single rooms and can use bathrooms exclusively reserved for the team. We have a total of eight round huts and three bath/shower huts. There is also a storage facility and a field laboratory used primarily for processing faecal samples. There is also a private kitchen.
Water is taken from our well during the rainy season and as long as it lasts in the dry season. Several Katadyne filter systems are present in our compound to clean water for drinking. Additional water exclusively used for washing and showering is also available through a faucet from the water reservoir filled with water pumped from the Gambia river.
A solar power system built and maintained by the project provides electricity for our equipment and basic needs (the amount of energy available depends on the number of people at camp and the season). The project has a satellite dish for internet access. While bandwidth is limited, it is ideal for checking emails and communicating with the outside world. In emergencies and/or when all other communication devices are not working, we have a Thuraya satellite phone to contact people in Göttingen (at the DPZ).
Researchers at camp pay 35.000 FCFA (a bit more than 50 euros) per month for a warm meal at lunch (at 13:00/when you arrive from the field) and dinner (at 20:00) cooked by the Simenti cook. Lunches usually consist of local dishes comprising rice with fish or meat and a few vegetables, while evening meals comprise dishes based on rice, peas, couscous, lentils, noodles or beans. Various other meals may also show up from time to time. The food for the whole camp is bought once per month (sometimes additional vegetables and meat may be bought during the month). Breakfasts are not prepared centrally, and researchers must buy their own breakfast food in Tamba (e.g., milk, instant coffee, cacao powder, oats, muesli, etc.). The project constructed an oven for bread baking and there is fresh baguette at somewhat irregular intervals.
First-aid kits are available at camp and in the cars for basic care. Other medications are personal responsibility; keep important medication available in Simenti. Hospitals and clinics are available in Tamba only.
The camp before the 2022 renovations