I could be remembering wrong, but yesterday likely started out similar to today. At least I’m hoping it did. I’m trying to find silver linings, and when you’re in the thick of things it’s hard to find the good amongst everything when things go wrong.
Yesterday we started interviews. Maimuna has ten women who have been helped by Kivulini Women’s Rights Organization and/or MikonoYetu; we’re interviewing them and then I’m going to write case studies based on those interviews and hopefully make short videos based of these women’s stories (fingers crossed that the video footage is semi-decent). After several developments and bumps along the way, I managed to find a SAUT student willing to conduct interviews in Swahili while recording what is said in English so that I can take these interviews and make a book of case studies for MikonoYetu. Eli, my interviewer, is fantastic and I’m incredibly excited to be working with her.
She was almost an hour late yesterday, though. I told her it was fine, our first interviewee was half an hour late and I already know her so it wasn’t terribly awkward. My stomach was a knot that entire morning, nonetheless. I fretted about timing, about the interview schedule, about background noise, and about whether or not the video footage and audio I was taking would be of any use (that’s still tbd). Looking back, however, yesterday couldn’t have gone better. We contacted many of the women and asked them when they could come. All of the interviews are being held at the hostel I’m staying at in favour of having a controlled and (somewhat) quiet setting. We ended up interviewing five women yesterday, which was fantastic. Eli’s a superstar and genuinely cared about each of the women that were interviewed. She was a lifesaver when it came to calling all of them and sorting out when they should come. It felt so good to get through half of the interviews in one day. At the end of it, I was exhausted but elated.
I woke up today hoping for a similar day today. Eli just texted me saying that instead of class until 10:00 am, she now has class until 3:00. And she can’t come tomorrow, like we had expected. My productive, good day came to a screeching halt. I asked her to call the woman that we had scheduled for 11:00 and cancel until further notice; luckily that was the only interview we had scheduled for sure today. Eli called, I’ve texted Maimuna, and now I’m sitting on my bed thinking how I should proceed. I’m not too worried, but my day has been thrown off a bit.
But then again, my day being thrown off has become standard. I should be used to things going awry by now, and should also be used to things working out by now. They always do.
So, upon reevaluating all of this, has this morning been so terrible? Not really, I suppose. I asked at reception if I could again use the meeting room that we used yesterday, but was informed that the sister was here today and wouldn’t be happy that I was using it unless I payed. It was going to be tsh 60,000 per day, which I suppose is doable but I hadn’t budgeted for it. Julie, a wonderful woman who works at the hostel and has practically adopted us despite our horrible attempts at her language, told me that they would call the sister and ask if she could give me a discount. I wasn’t given a discount, but I was told that I could use two rooms on the fourth floor for free. Turns out the fourth floor is much quieter, which is (once again) better than I could have expected.
It’s a good thing I was given a room for free, considering I may not actually need it today and I won’t be needing it tomorrow. Blessings in disguise are everywhere, if you take a minute to see them.
So here I sit. I might read today for a bit, even though I should be looking through the interview notes and videos. I should start writing the case studies. We’ll see how today ends up going, if any interviews happen, and if I’m at all productive. We’ll see when Eli is free and can come give me a hand. Time will tell, I’m no fortune teller so I have to wait just like the rest of the world. Life happens, and you work with it. It’s just funny that I had to come all the way to Mwanza, Tanzania to truly realize and embrace this. I’m still learning how to embrace it. Turns out I can’t control much, but I can be flexible with both my time and expectations.
It’s just hard when I’m sitting here interviewer-less.