Patience in Fieldwork

I am a little behind on my posts. Sometimes I get so exhausted during the day, every interview and meeting requires a lot of prep and mental/emotional energy, but I feel I have a good grasp on my questions depending on each informant. Lately, the nerves have been emerging, as it is time now to make plans for Peshawar. And the decisions need to be made quickly.

Every moment of our time in the “field” is critical. Though as I noted in a previous post, obviously we need time to relax and breathe, especially in order to reflect on what fits into the structure of our dissertation, and what may be valuable to place on the shelf.

Sometimes, just a little patience, even if it means waiting for a long time, can lead to a positive outcome. And sometimes we have to put in all our social capital in order to have something pan out. Eventually, it does. And if it doesn’t, other doors open for you.

That happened on Friday. And that happened a few times now. With just a little patience and persistence, I was able to meet with a key contact for USAID with experience in FATA/KP, after a long (1.5 year) hunt, and after nearly a month once found, trying to find a time to meet. And I was more pleased when the individual was open for an interview, open to record it, and open to being referenced in my research products. And from this contact I was able to get a few others lined up. It was quite an surprising reaction to my line of inquiry in terms of the difficulty of getting contacts for USAID. They thought that my perceptions of people being sensitive about speaking to me were quite silly. But I’ve noticed it depends on the individual, not necessarily the association.

Their office was just 2 minutes from where I stay in Pakistan. Just two minute drive away! And it seemed to be an office hidden on top of a common bank in Pakistan, with an entrance in the ally.


It was a very critical interview the helped me see that potentially (if I have the energy), an aspect of my research would be feasible to complete.

One full month in Pakistan has come an end, officially by Nov 15th. And I believe by Nov 15th I’ll have over 25 interviews. With several more pending. Cheers to another productive week of fieldwork!

The featured image is in the evening this past weekend at Khosar Market (which I have mentioned in previous posts). The fountain was active, and the Chand (crescent moon was out). I like to go there often either to freshen up, groceries, check out some books at the London Top book store, or the Mocca coffee shop, where I meet some of my informants. It’s a nice place to go to relax sometimes. There is a cute little Masjid there too.

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