Had a bit of a meltdown this week, largely as so much has been going on, surveys cancelled due to weather and partly because Sophie one of our students has decided to go home which was a bit of a shock. She has been an absolute legend during her time here and so it was a bit of a teary day at camp. Whilst I support her decision and wish her the best, I can’t help feeling like I have let her down and feel like I just don’t know what I am doing. Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern in which one doubts one’s accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud” and I feel like maybe I am not cut out to be the Research Manager.

We all go through times of doubting ourselves and I seem to regularly doubt myself and how I have managed to do some of the awesome things I have done. Like the time I was presenting at the BritBats Student conference and I questioned why I was presenting as ‘I am not a real scientist, I can’t present in front of all these smart people’. We all face times when we undermine ourselves and doubt our own accomplishments. But the more you grow up the more you realise we all feel like we are faking it ‘til we make it.

After a day of over thinking, self criticizing and hiding away from people so they didn’t see my red eyes from crying, I pull myself together and tell myself its ok and that I got this! Ok well no, I was helped by Tom and Dom who cheered me up and told me they thought I was doing a good job. They both managed to lift my spirits with kind words and helped me stop the tears and maybe start a few with hugs. We have done so well as a team so far and I shouldn’t let things we cannot control get the better of me.

This week, we also had a visit from Bushman and the Chief of Kauma village who gave us a more indepth lesson into the Chewa tribe traditions. Back in December we met with the Chief from the peri urban site just north of Lilongwe, and Dom was inducted into the Chewa tribe too, so she can now also conduct the surveys. So we sat down with them for a few hours going through the different customs and traditions we should know. I cannot however share what we learnt with you as you are swarn into secrecy and are not to tell non tribe members about the inductions and traditions.

I sadly missed out on the leaving dinner at Seble as I had interviews already scheduled in that evening but we had a fun lunch trip out to Flavours café this week (another find during my 2017 student trip) which is a really good and more local cafe. The food is homemade and fresh everyday. It is also super cheap, you can get a full meal and a drink for only £3! I love coming here, though it is super tucked away and hard to find as Brennan found out when he and Patrick came to join us. One night we had to wash Mara as the stinky one had gone and rolled around in something disgusting. When I say we, I mean Tom washed her and I laughed / guarded the shower door so she couldn’t escape. Although she is isn’t super happy about the shower, Dom and Tom then also give her a good old check over for ticks. Those two are heroes, such a gross thing to have to do. I am not good with parasites and just the thought as I write this is grossing me out. So I am out. Tionana (Chichewa for goodbye!)