Friday, October 16, 2009

The week that was

As you can probably tell from the lack of posts this week, it’s been a bit of a busy week. We had a visitor in Mapaki for 3 days, Anne-Reed, who works with Friends of African Village Libraries (FAVL). She is here in Sierra Leone visiting libraries and scouting for a possible expansion of FAVL’s work into Sierra Leone. She was looking at the cdpeace community library in Mapaki as an example of a community library here.

TMT, cdpeace’s Executive Director, has just arrived back in the country, so we had several meetings this week to confirm plans for my next couple of months here. I will continue with my school visits and teacher training (our first teacher workshop is coming up this Sunday). The twinning program is getting started, with the first letter having gone out to schools in Canada already, so I will have school twinning work to do as well. I am also hoping to do a needs assessment with staff in the next couple of weeks now that TMT is here.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been here almost 6 weeks already and have only a little over two months left. Suddenly it seems as though there’s a lot to do in the next 9 weeks. In addition to my cdpeace work, I am hoping to start my interviews for my thesis research this week. I have been waiting for the final approval from the ethics board on some revisions to my questions, and I need to get more copies of the consent forms made. Unfortunately, I have not been successful thus far in getting the printer in Mapaki working, so that means if I want to print or copy something I have to do it either at the cdpeace office in Mayagba or in Makeni or Magburaka. But now I think everything is in place and I will be starting this weekend.

On the topic of research, I had an interesting conversation with one of the people who is going to help me with translation, a friend form Mapaki, Michael. I reviewed the questions and the letter of information about the research with him to make sure he understood everything. For the most part it was fine. However, I had some difficulty explaining to him the concept of research ethics and what it meant to have ethics approval from the university. The gap between the requirements of academia in the developed world, and the understanding and knowledge of people here was evident and it seems silly to even have to include this information for people here I will be interviewing, as it really has no meaning for them. But, as the ethics board requires it, I will proceed as planned :-)

I’m in Makeni today and tomorrow and then doing the first teacher workshop on Sunday, so probably no posts for the next couple of days.

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