|OB's fair trade store|
This past week, Darcy and I spend time writing and revising the surveys and questionnaires that we will need to gather the information necessary to compile a production guide, look book, and marketing collateral for Nest and OB, anticipating that we would start visiting communities and meeting with artisans by the end of this week. However, we soon learned that no matter how prepared we were, this simply would not be possible. Typically, OB visits each community no more than once per month, and even then it can be difficult for OB facilitators to accomplish all that they need with the women in such a short time, much less make extra time for us to complete our own projects.
The language barrier adds another layer of difficulty to our projects, as in most of the communities, no more than a few women speak Spanish (with the rest speaking a variety of indigenous languages). This means that in order to conduct our surveys and testimonials, we either need to be accompanied by one of the facilitators – assuming they have the time to assist us with translation – or to hire a translator, which is problematic in itself as Darcy and I are already strangers to the women and adding another complete stranger to the mix would make it less likely that the women would trust us enough to give the honest, complete answers that we are looking for. Moreover, we were warned that even if the women talk openly and honestly with us, we may not be able to obtain all of the answers we want, as most cooperatives work with so many different groups and NGOs that identifying their relationship with one specific group may be next to impossible. Knowing this, it’s possible that even when we do make it to the communities, we will have to continue revising and reworking our research methods, and that no matter how perfect our surveys or questionnaires may seem at the beginning of a project, we must always be open to adapting them to the results were are getting – or not getting – in the field.