This week started with the finishing of the mapping. Our findings about the house, the compound and the environment need to be digitalized in order to be valuable to the research. It’s hard to record everything you do and it’s tiring to think about every step you take. Sometimes I’m fed up with recording everything I see and that I’m recorded with everything I do. This is big brother on a next level.
The main assignment of this week was quiet odd. It is about doing an observation on one member of the family. As you know by now, Stella is the mother of the family we are researching at the moment. We we’re looking forward to observing this woman, but it happened as a sudden change of plans. The parents seem to have a hard time understanding that what we’re trying to do in this phase is observing how they go about in their daily life and the activities that are included in this daily life. Our task is to vanish as two observers in the perception of the observed, in order to minimalize our effect on their activities. Unfortunately, we became friends and we’re considered to be one big family that is going to build a house. We need to share breakfast and dinner with them, there is no questioning their authority in their hospitality. We need to observe this person from when they wake up, which we know should be around five o’clock, until they go to bed again. We’re allowed at half past seven. We think they tell us that because they’re too busy before that time. They are so willing to cooperate, but it seems we’re lost in research and translation.
At some point in the day we follow her to a piece of farmland they rent from another farmer. Stella is going to pick vegetables for the dinner we’re going to have later this day. It is a very tranquil environment, separated from all the noise and activity of the civilized world. The countryside, a place I would love to visit more if we would just have the time.
This Saturday we decided to do some shopping in Kitale, this is the nearest city. We entered the Matatu with six Wazungu’s, which was filled up till 16 people in one car. Every time it’s surprising how much people you can fit in one of these things, it’s art.
In Kitale the locals seem to be a bit less surprised about our presence. We’re all getting our stuff that we have on our shopping list and end the day in the Rooftop bar; a bar on the seventh floor of a luxurious hotel. Seven floors is a lot in Kitale and the view is therefor quiet stunning. The edge of the low-rise build environment ends soon to transform into the landscape of mountainous Trans-Nzoia. This is the name of the province we’re located. Working and being busy in the field makes you forget sometimes where you are. This was a satisfying reminder of the fact we’re actually in eastern Africa.
Looking for the Matatu that would bring us back to where we came from resulted in the most hectic moment to far, maybe the most hectic moment I ever experienced. It was clear we didn’t fit in the Matatu as one company. Fifty Africans screaming that they would love to take you to the place you need to go to. A absolute eruption of excitement, disparity and willingness. We choose one modest man with a car to drive us back to the farm. A great young man who offers his phone number so we can call him any time when needed. He lives close by and therefor this is a nice way of making some money with his car. This man would be able to take us someday to the Mountain..