It’s 8:30 pm. The advance team has been busy since eight this morning, when we left the hostel. Chrissy Sherman has arranged the agenda, which includes visits to Chaguite homes to ensure that they know about the clinic and the community meeting that is scheduled for Monday; visits to the homes of brigadistas (community health representatives) in Buena Vista and Quebrada Grande to ensure that they know the day and location of the clinics for their communities; and a meeting with the newly selected mayor’s representatives in Chaguite. The team is reviewing and clarifying field notes. With two speakers and two recorders/observers, the notes are thorough and team members quiz each other about what was said and who said it, one conversation at a time. When we return to campus, these transcribed notes will be examined more closely to extract data to describe ongoing activities and emerging infrastructure.
The “B team” (the remaining students, three doctors, and our friend for life Freddy (professional driver and cultural guide) will arrive around 10pm. There will be embarrassing displays of affection and general silliness, which will give way to debates about whether the “updates” and “progress reports” should be done tonight or could wait until tomorrow. We’ll stay up too late and get up too early and tomorrow will be filled with logistics, pill counting, sorting, and bagging, and more logistics.
This year will be no easier for senior team members, who will try not to notice that these are their crowning moments and culmination – and I will be no more adept at expressing my appreciation for all that they have done to build forward from the work of those who preceded them.