Balance and Imbalance: Conflicts in Interpretation

In a few weeks I will be going down to South Carolina to begin the interview process for my research project. In preparation I have taken notes from the Principles and Best Practices and Responsibility to the Public and to the Profession section of the Oral History Association’s website. I am very excited for my first experience as an Oral Historian. At the same time, I am very nervous. I am not nervous to talk to my established interviewees, but I am nervous about presenting the correct interpretation of the interviewees and the Horry County, South Carolina community.

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June 11: First Block Group Meeting

After countless hours of writing and editing an agenda for our first block meeting with Block A, the community flooded, so entrance to the community was blocked by the canada. We took the extra time outside of the community to continue refining our agenda, and went into Tuesday with excitement and slight apprehension over facilitating our first meeting. We spent a few solid hours doing SNA work when we got to the community. We have interviewed almost all of the women in Block C and are on our way through Block B.

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June 9: Beginning SNA and Block Group Planning

A few days ago, we ran a pilot SNA (Social Network Analysis) survey in the community, testing it on adult males so as not to contaminate our pool of eventual adult female participants. The interviews ran between ten and twenty minutes, and we spent a lot of time with pilot interviewees rewording the questions and learning what needs to be emphasized while we are running the actual interviews. We also worked with Dr. Aday late into the evening over Skype to gain a deeper understanding of the purpose of this round of SNA and clarify and reshape the questions to foster answers with that in mind. The questions focus on communication of health and flooding issues within the community. We want to know who community members discuss these issues with and learn more about these relationships (including where, how often, and about what specifically they speak with one another) to better understand the organic structures and patterns of communication that exist within Esfuerzo.

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June 5: Outreach to a Nearby Clinic

We met with the local clinic (UNAP) in Mama Tingo to facilitate stronger ties between members of the clinic, the CHC (on behalf of Esfuerzo), HOMBRE, and SOMOS. We found out a lot about the clinic, specifically related to the availability and costs of their services. For example, a check-up is free for those with insurance. Those without insurance are requested to pay 25 pesos as a donation to maintain the services and resources at the clinic, but they are not required if they do not have the money. Complications arise after the check-up, as it is difficult for many to pay for medications and analyses and to keep track of medical records without proper documentation of the visit. This process of patient care, and especially the insurance issue, is made up of intricate levels of challenges that we will have to take more time to fully understand.

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June 2: CHC with HOMBRE

Going into the trip, a first priority was learning as much as we could about the history and inner workings of the Community Health Committee. There are five members that make up the CHC, four of which are women from Esfuerzo, while the fifth is a health promoter and liaison from a local clinic. As drafted last year by SOMOS and the original CHC members, the structure and goals of the CHC are:

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