Thursday, July 23, 2009

In "the field"

My back is finally better. I ran for the first time in a week yesterday and got some energy out of my system. On top of that I had full day. We had our first day of fieldwork. After long days of developing a survey and working with logistics of the program we are finally onto some more exciting work. I am now appreciating all the hard work we did because it is making the fieldwork run so much smoother.

The morning started off with waking up at 6 am so we could drive to the Mbiricani group ranch where we administered a survey with a partner and a translator/guide. I am so happy we have a translator/guide, I would have been so lost and confused and nothing would be possible without their help.

Finally we were on the road around 7 am. Luckily there were few cars out and it was mostly locals and children on their way to school. No scary driving!! We were dropped off in specified area (cluster sample) to gather data. We ventured from house (boma) to house interviewing the locals. The culture is amazing and people are beautiful. In such a desolate dry environment that seems dead and hopeless is a culture shining in color vibrating with loving energy.

I can already tell a lot of things are getting lost in translation. Some of them are silly and others are awkward. While pretesting our survey, on the KooKoo Ranch, another girl Nikki and I thought the translator was telling us to give the lady we were interviewing "a shilling" to show our thanks. So we looked at each other...thinking awkward and then I took out some money not knowing what to do. Our translator started laughing and told us NO NO NO. In reality he was telling us to say thank you very much "oshe-leng" in Maasai. We got confused and though he was telling us to give the mama money. The situation was quickly resolved and many other little funny things have happened like that. Each situation is a learning experience and even though some are painful or hurt at the time they pay off in the end or teach you a good lesson. Like don't pay "a shilling" to the mamas for information.

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