Funding, a cold, broken computers...
Trip Start Oct 30, 2010
49Trip End Aug 27, 2011
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To go, or not to go to the Upper Mazaruni, that is the question. Over the last two weeks I have been teetering back and forth between the prospect of going on this research trip, or fulfilling my obligations to the children I am teaching (and not because I would actually consider leaving them high and dry, but because the question of who will remain at Red Thread to cover the classes keeps changing). One day it looks like I am going to go, and the next it seems impossible, and 6 days before the departure date, this still isn't resolved. Another drawback is that I have fallen behind on all of the preparatory reading I should have been doing for the trip because I unexpectedly had to move out of Nicola's house last Monday, I was feeling under the weather and my computer decided to crash all in the span of 5 days. I also found out from my MA supervisor (who just arrived in Guyana at the beginning of the month) that she would rather I focused my research on urban issues since I have spent most of my time in Georgetown, rather than to try to tie the Mazaruni trip into an area of focus for my thesis. Either way, I would be happy to do the work on both ends, but it comes down to a matter of time... how can I come up with a meaningful proposal about the effects of macroeconomic poverty reduction strategies on the lived experiences of poor urban women, while writing about indigenous women's changing social positions (well, if there are any) in an 8 week period which will be filled with the stress of preparing for the Youth Camp before I go home and start school? I honestly don't think I can. I also have some ethical concerns about going up as a white female researcher, because my feminist politics are likely quite disparate from theirs no matter how culturally relative I may think myself to be. I sometimes question who the hell I think I am coming up with these grandiose plans (even coming to Guyana to volunteer) because I have become starkly aware of how development and all of its peripheries (like research and volunteering within this field), perpetuate a form of "othering" and are always toeing the line between a new form of imperialism and actually doing a shred of good. I guess I will have to get over this self consciousness to some extent if I am to get through this program (and luckily the Mazaruni Research is supposed to be very informal), but I suppose if I didn't have these concerns the issue at hand would be even more problematic. By my next posting it will be clear what it is that I am doing (because I will have already gone), but one thing is sure, I will be busy one way or the other.
As for the other news I barely skimmed over, yes my computer crashed (some kind of virus I think) so I had to buy myself a new Netbook so that I could actually do the work I am here to do (and the stuff after work which I keep complaining is not getting done). I also moved in with Leeann a week early (I had decided earlier this months I would move in in July to get a little more privacy to do work although the decision was bittersweet because they were so awesome to me,and because Nicola is such a great cook!) because another of Linda's students, Katie, just arrived in Guyana and had nowhere to go. Since Leeann's roommate had already moved out, it made sense to move in earlier since Katie would cover the rent for the rest of the month for me at Nicola's, and I would be where I was planning to be anyway. This place is huge, I have my own bathroom, a beautiful yard, and even a giant mango tree which drops ripe-from-the-tree-mangoes for us daily (I will take some pictures soon). In the midst of it all, I also caught a cold, we hosted a dinner party at our house with us, Linda's students and a few other people she invited, and last but not least we completed the final requirements for the Roraima fund, and we will indeed be doubling our currents earnings! YAY!! We are not quite there yet, but thanks to many of you, and the Roraima fund, the 2011 Summer Camp is definitely going to take place! Thank you all again so very much!
Anyway, I better get to bed so I can get up and run up and down the driveway (remind me to tell you all about that later) and finally buckle down with some reading before heading to work.