I'm also staying in what is basically a researcher flop house, the home/office to the Lion Research Center and Savannahs Forever. It's quite interesting to chat over tea with the range of folks staying here: wildlife veterinarians, enumerators, ecologists and an agricultural economist with children, all spending a few days in Arusha on their way to somewhere else. This flophouse atmosphere gave way to a pretty unique moment last night where I was joined in my late-night programming adventures, with extension cords stretched and Youth Lagoon blaring (props to QSM), by two researchers who shared my music taste and a very important piece of advice:
You cannot tell your enumerators what exactly you're looking for because they will hand it to you on a silver platter.
As the Maryland economist elaborated, holding back the exact goal of research may feel secretive or condescending, but because enumeration is apparently terribly boring, folks often look for the right answer. Which has the problem of throwing a slight bias in results. And, as I've already experienced, Tanzanians, being so polite, are happy to tell me exactly what I want to hear.
On Sunday, I head out to the Meatu district villages to begin searching for enumerators to hire. More to come on the next adventure: hiring and training enumerators without telling them what exactly I'm researching.