Saturday, July 27, 2013

We Did IT!: First week in Durban at a Glance

What a week!! Wait! Was that only a week?? The time is absolutely flying. Given the friendships I have already established with the UKZN students, the work we have conducted in the community, and the training we have gone through so far, it's hard to grapple with the fact that we have only been in Durban for 7 days! In the words of my advisor, "Oooo my word!" :)  But on the other hand, my body has clearly registered and suffered from the arduous week. Today Jasmine and I slept until 2:00pm! Yet the rest was much needed and well received.

Friday we ended the week in fantastic form. We began with an extremely informative presentation about Photovoice, a visual methodology often employed in PAR (Participatory Action Research) where participants utilize cameras to capture images representative or symbolic of their personal stories. For this project, students from Kenneth Gardens will take pictures of people, places, or things in their community that hold significance to them. Additionally, they will take pictures of things in their community they believe prevent people from being healthy. I am extremely excited by this portion of the project for two main reasons. 1) I think it will be incredible to utilize a new research methodology and add it to my repertoire and 2) I think the students will generate some truly thought provoking images. They are all very bright and I am confident they will blow us away with their work. I can't wait to see what they do!

Friday we visited the KG students on their Brettonwood school grounds to train them in how to use the digital cameras and best capture their perceptions of their community. The process went smoothly and the students are anxious to get started on Monday. That evening, myself and a few others went out on the town to enjoy some music, dancing, and drinks. Socializing with the UKZN students in a informal setting was great. We were all able to let loose and really relax from all of the work we had accomplished in the past week.

Today I was able to visit the beach, which is beautiful. In many ways it almost mirrors Miami. There is a small boardwalk area near the casino where people can either patronize restaurants and bars or simply sit back and take in the spectacular view of the Indian Ocean. It was great to orient myself to the city and begin to see what it has to offer. Tomorrow I plan to continue my exploration of Durban with a visit to "The Taste of Durban" and a witnessing of traditional African dancers on the beach.

Until next time,
Ukuthula (meaning peace in Zulu)


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