Closing Blog Post

My trip to Tanzania was a truly extraordinary experience. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Roessler for making this trip possible, as well as his research assistant Peter Carroll for making the whole experience amazing. While we generated quite a bit of valuable knowledge and made a significant contribution to the literature, the things that will stick with me most closely are the experiences. From watching the entirety of the Euro 2016 tournament in the same sports bar, to going on safari and seeing all of the Big 5, these are memories that will remain with me forever.

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The Land Rights Workshop

Back in April, I was taking a Mixed Methods course to prepare for my research in Tanzania. As the final paper for that class, I wrote about a plan to create a land rights workshop, and invite women to it using their mobile phones versus more traditional methods. At the time, the document was little more than a rough framework – many practical issues were not even addressed, let alone answered. In fact, I submitted under the assumption that it would never even come to fruition. However, thanks to the help of my professor and research coordinator, we actually managed to polish it into a workable plan of action.

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Research in a Foreign Country

I never really understood the importance of a command of a native language while doing research – that is, until this trip. In Tanzania, there are multiple official languages, including English. When I saw this, I was reassured, since I figured that even the┬ácommon man would speak basic English. This, as it turned out, was almost hilariously incorrect. Upon setting foot in the Dar es Salaam airport, I immediately discovered to my dismay that the immigration officer barely spoke English. Through some signing and pointing, I was able to get the correct visa, but I realized then that I was in for much more of a challenge than I had anticipated.

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The Nitty-Gritty of Research

While I have done “research” before, it always involved simply browsing Google Scholar and various journals for knowledge generated by someone else. Up until my Tanzanian project, I had never really considered the effort that goes into actually producing research. What we see published in a journal is a polished product, but we do not see the sweat and labor expended in creating it. Now that I have tried my hand at actually creating content, I have gained a new appreciation for the hard work that goes into research.

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What’s the True Value of a Cell Phone?

Hello!

My name is Jonah Abraham, and I’m a sophomore at the College. This summer, I’ll be traveling to Tanzania to do my project, currently laboring under the clunky working title “What’s the True Value of a Cell Phone?” (If you have a snappier title, let me know in the comments!) In any case, I’ll be there for around seven weeks, living in the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam. I’m working with three others students from W&M, and together we are all working on various aspects of Professor Roessler’s research.

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