Interview Day #1:
Today, Keily and I began putting all of our preparations into action. This week, we’re interviewing the community of Arada Vieja (aka Los Naranjos) – the furthest and most isolated community in our study.
Before setting out to Arada Vieja, however, we had a quick meeting with the mayor to explain our plan to him. Like the other authority figures we’ve already met with, he was supportive and said to just let him know how he can help. Mayor on board = check.
The road to Arada Vieja is not in very good condition – this, actually, seems to be one of the principle problems of the community. They have organized some tourism initiatives around a tilapia farm and restaurant, a lookout point, and an ancient painted rock but it’s difficult for them to attract visitors given the distance and the very poor quality of the road.
Upon arriving, we met with a group of community leaders – men and women – and described our study to them. I put my shiny new voice recorder to work as they then described their community cooperative, its structure and various projects.
After meeting with the group, we conducted one 1.5 hour interview with one of the community leaders – the 71 year old gentleman who is treasurer of the cooperative. He was very enthusiastic and went into great detail explaining the ins and outs of the current state of water/food/health/education/natural resources/energy/communications/transportation etc. in Arada Vieja. Key problems include water scarcity, the poor road, a lack of employment and high cost of transport into town.
On Friday, we’ve arranged to have a community meeting and pupusa dinner to conclude our week in Arada Vieja and have a first crack at the group activities we’ve designed.
Tomorrow, it’s back to Arada Vieja for more one-on-one interviews. It’s a two hour walk so we’ll be setting out bright and early!