Ahh, another day of hard work! Today Darryl and I went around trying to talk to the farmers from our system that we didn’t get a chance to talk to yesterday. We were able to get some valuable information. The conversations today however, were perfect examples of some of the huge communication barriers we have had to overcome daily. First of all, most of the farmers don’t speak English. So we had Foster, a student our age who helped with interviews last year, translate for us. Moreover, many of the accounts we heard did not match up chronologically with the stories we heard yesterday. One farmer told us that the group finished planting in February when the others previously told us November!
Nonetheless, we figured out ways to get around these issues. We found ways to reword our questions whenever the answers did not match up. Also, we tried to focus on the duration and order of events rather then where they fell on last year’s calendar. Using these techniques, we were able to get around the communication issues and elicit some great information. One woman we spoke to offered a completely different perspective to everything we have heard thus far. She mentioned how the farmers last year split into different work groups based gender. She also highlighted that the women had more time to tend to the dry-season farms because they did not have to harvest the rainy season yams like the men. Finally, she informed us on how the deaths of the Chief and a young boy seriously disrupted productivity last year. It’s anecdotes like these that are able to give us the valuable types of information we can’t find in textbooks! Tomorrow we’re off to the market. I’m very happy with the progress we’re making with Phase 2.