After spending the past few days working in the community the SOMOS summer team has set some lofty goals but I truly believe that the team has risen to the occasion. During our time here, we have ran trouble-shooting interviews (which have provided us with sufficient information as to how to edit the questions so as to be understood by respondents), held a community wide meeting, and held a meeting of the Comité de Salud (Health Committee).
Salutations! Thanks for stumbling upon this post (or seeking it out if you are one of the kind-hearted souls that has), hope you enjoy.
With classes now suddenly in full swing my research has come to a close, which is disappointing, because it felt as though the more I learned and the more leads I got the more I realized how little I knew and how much there was left for me to learn. I’ve been spending some more time on the sites Ms. Vestal pointed out to me- the HUDD research site as well as the Cooper Center. I have had some success looking at these sites, but not too much. Unfortunately, Williamsburg is such a small and relatively unpopulated area so there is not much data on it, and what I’m researching is such a specific subject so there really is not much to find. I did finally finish reading Where the Other Half Lives, edited by Sarah Glynn. Most of the focus was on housing in the United Kingdom, but some of what was said could be applied to the United States as well, so it proved to be somewhat beneficial. Another focus in the book was on how neoliberal policies have affected the housing crisis. This truly began in the 1970s, with the methodical destruction of subsidized public housing in the United States in order to promote “self-sufficiency” and reduce the amount of government involvement. The book did best in providing a timeline for monumental moments in the history of low-income housing, but not necessarily within the United States. Again, there is still so much left for me to learn, but with the fall semester here, it is sadly time for my research to come to a close.
I am becoming aware of trends from the answers we receive to our interviews. We have spoken with a few mothers who are younger than I am, ranging to women in their 40s. I consistently notice a difference in answers and interactions based on the age of the woman. Most that are under 25 also speak excellent English, to the point where we can ask most of the questions without a translator. I wonder if the differences come from technology advances or from schooling advances. These women also have a better knowledge of essential hygiene and hand washing practices.
I found during most interviews, the men were not present. The community consists mostly of farmers and the men were generally out in the field when we would conduct interviews. In some cases, other men or women would be present during the surveys (which was always noted in our records). We found that men were active in answering the questions, and in some cases, active in child care decisions. We wanted to understand who was primarily responsible for care of children and what shared understandings among community members existed with respect to health. We asked the mothers if their understanding of health practices was shared by other members of the household, but we were also able to obtain information from conversations with other caregivers. There seemed to be a lot of continuity within each household.