June 30, 2009

Interviews completed – what to do?

In Kingston, I have been lucky to have an over-zealous research assistant, Evelyn, who ensured that I completed my thirty interviews in my first month in Kingston. I had planned on taking at least two months to complete the interviews. This is great, as it means I have been able to make progress on other things I need to do in Kingston, such as get my interviews transcribed and even make plans for a research trip to Montego Bay next summer. It also presents a challenge, however, as now I have to figure out how to make best use of my time in Jamaica.

Ah, such a difficult task you might think. But, I actually feel like I need to be working here, for two major reasons. The first is that this trip is being funded, so I would feel guilty about lounging on the beach all day. The second is that I am on the tenure track, which means that I have a ticking clock in terms of my research productivity. I might as well add a third – some people have accused me of being a work-a-holic.

So, what am I doing with my days? Well, I am writing, of course. I decided to spend this week focusing on a few things that I need to get out of the way that are unrelated to my current project. Until I begin to see my transcriptions, there isn’t much I can do for my project on deportations. Thus, on Saturday morning, I began to work on a book review that is due next month. I was able to send that off to the journal editor on Sunday. I had detailed notes on the book, so the review was relatively easy to write. Next, I recently received a conditional acceptance for a journal article, and have to make revisions. I have been working on that since Sunday. I finished making all of the suggested changes today, and will give it a once-over tomorrow. After that, I have a manuscript I agreed to review for a journal. I will do that on Thursday, I suppose.

Unless I go to Montego Bay on Thursday, that is. I have been thinking of making a trip to Montego Bay, as that is where I will be doing my research next year. And, since the girls will be starting summer camp on Monday, it makes sense for us to go this week, so the girls don’t miss any days from summer camp. I enrolled Tatiana, Soraya, and Raymi in the Edna Manley College of the Visual Arts Kaleidoscope program for the summer, and am hoping that it works out well.

If we do go to Montego Bay on Thursday, my plan will be to meet up with deportees or people who work with deportees to establish contacts for next summer. Ideally, I would find another Evelyn in Montego Bay who could work with me. Apparently, Montego Bay is just as dangerous as Kingston, so it likely is not advisable for me to travel into the inner cities by myself to conduct my interviews. Evelyn has said she has some contacts in Montego Bay, so perhaps she will give them to me. And, I just might find a research assistant among them.

I am a bit ambivalent about traveling to Montego Bay. On the one hand, it’s expensive to make the trip there, and I am not sure what I will accomplish. On the other hand, Montego Bay has beautiful beaches and I am sure the kids will love the sea there. And, I could benefit from some fabulous scenery. Plus, I really should check the place out if I plan on living there for three months next summer. So, if we don’t go on Thursday, we’ll go at some point before we leave Jamaica.


  1. That is such great news. If only all research projects had an Evelyn.

  2. Agreed! I am hoping to find more Evelyns in the subsequent phases of this project!