By Christine Shaneberger
Today we dove into our individual research. I began my day at the Aids Control Program where Venant was kind enough to show me stacks of records about their progress over the years.
I had heard many times that field research is often a process in which one discovers what is not possible and that I should expect to run into a multitude of problems throughout my project. Today was my first glimpse of this. As I was reviewing ACPs records I realized that collecting data for the scope of my research would be impossible given the records available.
Although this was a little frustrating, I think I learned a valuable lesson about field research . Luckily, I was able to refocus my project and will be researching a different aspect of ACP for the remainder of my research.
Today was really valuable and humbling for me. A relatively large setback in research made it clear to me that I need to embrace and internalize parts of Tanzanian culture I have learned about in the last few weeks while I’m gathering data.
Things move much more slowly here and people enjoy small moments rather than worry about the seemingly intangible “bigger picture”. Today was a reminder to relax and absorb as much of this experience as possible, rather than waste it worrying about data and how much work I can cram into the next few weeks.