3rd April 2015 – Good Friday

This morning I prepared some materials for training the team in conducting the analysis of the Phase 1 data, which will get underway tomorrow. There was some downtime for the team once the research team had returned to base after the final round of interviews and the commencement of their meeting with the supervisors to review the interview recording forms. Katja organized for some soft drinks for them; a gesture that they gratefully appreciated. I managed to catch some photographs of the relaxed interactions between the various members of the group. Some of the most striking images came when Richard provided some lessons to the researchers in playing the tin-whistle. He has the great ability to play songs from ear. So, in the last few days he has managed to learn how to play the Ugandan national anthem, and two of the songs that we have sung as a group. The researchers were keen to pick some of these songs up. Daniel and Fr Ponsiano are showing great promise!

After the interview teams had completed their feedback sessions with the supervisors we gathered together for a team debrief that I lead. Today saw the completion of the data collection for Phase 1 of the research. We successfully reached our target of interviewing 20 members of the communities living in the Lira district. Noting the smiling faces in the room, I highlighted to the group the tangible shift in the facial expressions and emotional tone that had taken place since we had first met together on Tuesday morning. I expressed my gratitude to the group for the work that they had completed and how indicated how impressed I have been with their dedication and hard work. In light of the fact that some of the participants had shared traumatic stories with the interview teams, we made time to debrief and provide some space for self-care. It was great to hear the team share their approaches for managing stress. These included talking with friends, using relaxation exercises, tuning in to what is happening in the world around them, dancing, and using prayer and contemplation. We finished our session with some discussions relating to the plans for tomorrow.

After the group departed, we endeavoured to get to some ‘day job’ activities that have been building up on our ‘to do’ lists. I had some editorial comments to make on a chapter that had been submitted for a textbook that I am involved in editing. After this I spent time drafting the abstract for the ‘Anthropology and Global Health: Interrogating theory, policy and practice’ conference. I have passed this draft to Richard for his input and will also consult with Rosco about this. So, all in all it has been a very productive day.

A thunderstorm started at 5pm that sent torrential shards of rain bouncing off the ground. It was the monsoon-like rain that is such a feature of the wet-season in countries situated on the equator. Richard, Katja and I sat on the verandah of the accommodation block around a small table working as the deluge continued for well over an hour. The flashes of lightning were followed by the sound of thunder rumbling and rolling across the sky. It was very atmospheric, and did wonders for helping to clear the humidity from the air.

As mentioned previously, the research in Uganda is contributing to an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded research project entitled Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Body, Law and the State’. In my video-diary entry this evening, Richard asked me to reflect on what the inclusion of a representative from the Creative Arts hub (Katja) and a representative from the Researching Multilingually hub (Richard) has brought to the conduct of the research project. This provided a fantastic opportunity to highlight the contribution that both have made to the trip on both a personal and professional level. Having this focused and dedicated time together has done much to reaffirm my confidence that the work in Uganda is providing rich opportunities for understanding how the languaging of distress can impact on what forms of support and assistance are deemed to be appropriate. Discussions with both Richard and Katja have also allowed me to reflect critically on the methodology that we have been employing and sharpened my awareness around the points in the process where the use of English language training has juxtaposed with the use of Lango in the delivery of interviews and the recording of associated information. I also have to concede that having Richard and Katja in the team has increased the amount of Lango that I have been able to pick up.

With it being Good Friday today, our thoughts are with our friends and families who will be gathering together to celebrate Easter. It is also a time for expressing sympathies to the families of the 148 victims of the tragic events at Garissa University in neighbouring Kenya. Our thoughts are with the many families who will be mourning the loss of loved ones.

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