The more you know

26 05 2012

by Berhan Hagos

Monday evening, on my walk home from work, I came across a small ጭማቂ ቤት (Juice House) which had an entrance surrounded by a lush variety of fruit. The strong, sweet scent of the fruit was impossible to resist so I went inside thinking I would buy a few pieces of fruit. To my surprise this little store not only sold fruit but also had a juice bar. Immediately, I became aware of just how parched my throat felt and of course the clear solution was to order a gigantic mug of juice.

The juice house in arat kilo

A few minutes later I was served my order of a blend of mango and papaya. Upon my first sip I concluded, this is perfection. Of course perfection is subjective; but I am convinced that anyone who has a taste of this would agree it is pretty close to perfection. It was the absolute perfect combination of 55% mango and 45% papaya. The consistency of the juice is incomparable to all I have had before; it would make the Naked Juice brand jealous. This little marvel is just one of the finds I have made in my neighborhood ofAddis Ababathis week.

Taste of perfection! Spris & Mango/Papaya

My discovery of the ጭማቂ ቤት is just the surface of what has been a week full of lessons and adventures. This week I spent time learning more about the SVO staff, their projects roles, as well as understanding how to distinguish what my potential roles would in the work that they are doing. It has been interesting observing how deeply their faith affects their devotion to the work they are doing at SVO. It is with a lot of care and dedication that the staff members carry out their tasks and seeing that has been a great motivation for me. This week, I was also working with some translators to get the consent forms, recruitment scripts and the instruments translated. The process was a little rushed as I had been waiting to get IRB approval, but in due time I was given approval and all the documents were translated.

While working on organizing a means of pilot testing the instruments before going out into the field with the SVO staff, I had the opportunity to go on my first visit to an institution that cared for orphaned children in Yohans. The premise of the visit was to interview the institution director. SVO staff had had previous interaction with the individual during recruitment when he showed interest in participating and become a part of the study. Upon the beginning of the interview when the consent form was presented to the interviewee, there was a noticeable shift in the atmosphere. He did not see the need for his signature he was more comfortable giving the interview without signing the consent. He argued that he had done many interviews before and they did not require such documents and because this form was required he would not do the interview without speaking to the owner of the institution. I was completely surprised by his reaction as he continued suggesting that having a consent form would limit his ability to freely and honestly respond to the questions that would be asked. After the staff members re-explained the purpose of the consent form and that the interview could not be done without, he replied that we must come another day after he had spoken with the institution owner for approval.

View outside the institution in the Yohans area

In leaving the institution, I asked for the two SVO members I was with to explain to me why the director was so hesitant to sign. They explained that consenting is not a common practice in Ethiopia. When studies are done, participants are asked to participate and the interview is conducted if they are willing that is the extent of the consenting process. Many people here see the process as one that will jeopardize their privacy, not protect it. Although I will be receiving oral consent from my project participants, this experience was one that was extremely informative for me. It brought to the surface just how important confidentiality is and the importance of being able to understand how peoples past experiences dictate there present ideals, comforts, and practices.

I will continue to be mindful of this lesson learned as I begin doing interviews in the upcoming week. Ciao until next time!




One response

29 05 2012

Interesting lesson learned! Goes to show you as much as you prepare back at Duke, things will change and you have to be flexible. Can’t wait to hear more!

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