We are now at the halfway point for the trip. The time has certainly gone in quickly. Although it was a Saturday (and Easter weekend), the work continued unabated. Today had been scheduled as the day for analyzing the data gathered during Phase 1. I think it is fare to say that the energy levels were starting to flag, but a strong coffee at breakfast got the party started. The rain started to fall at around 9am, just as our research team was due to arrive. This delayed the start by about 45 mins as members of the team struggled to get to Pauline Hotel where we are staying, and where the training is based. The transport of choice for people in the Lira region is the motorbike. There are few cars on the roads. For those who can’t afford a motorbike there is always the option of a bicycle or Shank’s pony… Of course, all of this will impact on people’s capacity to travel in the rain. Unlike cars, motorbikes, cycling or walking offer little protection against the biblical rain that can fall in Uganda.
Following the rain delay, the day began in earnest. The interviewing pairs were instructed on how to collate and process the material that they had gathered through the interviews. We made steady progress through the day. All the material was in Lango and it was an interesting experience to be in the midst of numerous Lango conversations about the Lango-language data that made little or no sense to me. This was entirely in keeping with the guidance accompanying the methodology that we are using. To protect the integrity of the research process, the translation of the material comes at the very end point of the process. After lunch, I handed coordination of the process over to Fr Ponsiano, Elizabeth and Patrick as the group worked together to reach consensus on the types of problems and tasks that were reported by our participants and the frequency with which they were reported. It was pleasing to step back and see the three local leads facilitating a process that is very much intended to benefit the local population. The downside was that during a break in proceedings I heard that Liverpool FC had lost 4-1 to Arsenal. Sport can be cruel, particularly if you are a Liverpool fan…
We were under pressure to complete the analysis today, because the data generated from Phase 1 very much informs the conduct of Phase 2 which commences on Monday. The team worked hard and got the job done at about 6pm. We now have four priority problems related to emotions, thoughts, behaviours and/or relationships that participants from the Lira district consistently identified as being important. I worked to process the paperwork and ensure that we had extracted contact details for the key informants that are recognized in the local community to be knowledgeable about these issues. This was important to ensure that we can contact them in the coming days to try to arrange interviews with them.
This evening we took the bumpy road to the Brownstone Country House Hotel. We will be staying here for the next couple of nights as a bit of a change of scenery and an opportunity to get the energy levels back up for next week. The journey to Brownstone gave me a chance to have that first beer in 7 weeks. I opted for a bottle of Guinness Export. What else would an Irish man go for in Uganda??