Focus Group Site B
What a rich and engaging focus group we experienced today surrounding civic engagement on the campus of Universidad Autónoma de Chile. This is my other preliminary research sites (UCMaule is the other) being used to test my constructs prior to my larger study in Santiago. There were so many lessons learned today and chief among them being please take my advice every researcher… have multiple recording devices with you on site. I though I was recording the audio during our discussions with my computer and didn’t realize until everything was over that my computer didn’t record a thing (my new recording software tricked me again). I thought the bright colorful lights that were flashing and dancing on my laptop screen was indication that recording had occurred. As participants were departing I find to my horror that these lights were only displaying audio levels and nothing was recording using my laptop.
Thankfully, I also had running in the background my handheld digital recorded (plugged into an external mic), as well as capturing the audio that was being capture by the video recorded discussions. For the second time, my video camera stopped recording the session at about the 30 minute mark and I don’t know why it did that because the unit was fully charged. I subsequently took pictures with it immediately following the focus group discussions so I know it was not a loss of energy issue. Well, this is another good lesson learned prior to my return trip to Santiago next semester.
I will need to meet with my tech team of young-baby geniuses at UGA upon my return to go over some of these issues and start preparing for my data analysis. Sheesh!! I sure hope they haven’t graduated on me (now if they are supposed to graduate “Siguen muchachos!“). But for those of you still around and possibly reading this blog post… see you soon :).
Los Colectivos (Talca mini taxi cabs)
I’ll write more about my experience today with the Talca, Colectivo services later tonight. It was so funny but turned out very pleasantly for me. 🙂 Right now, I’m so sleepy and need a quick nap (siesta). I am usually a Nightowl staying up to about 2:00 or 3:00 am regularly. However, my meeting today was at 9am and I needed to take a 7:30am taxi in order to get to my meeting on time. Needless to say, I was struggling to get up this morning.
Los Colectivos (Part II post-siesta)
Okay, now that I’m all rested and refreshed I can tell this part of my day/story. After finishing my focus group interviews I called my regular Chofer Leonardo who drives a local Talca Taxi cab. I had already also spoken to him about my need for a ride that morning and assumed he would be picking me up. However, another driver arrived for me in the am and I was like, “Oh, well perhaps he was busy and sent someone else.” So I take my morning cab to Autónoma this morning and simple kept it moving in relation to my day.
Flashback to the beginning of this paragraph, at the conclusion of today’s research, I called Leonardo and he says he’ll would arrive for me in a few minutes. I go outside and a taxi is waiting but, again no Leonardo, so I hop in and give him my address which I’ve typed on a piece of paper for convenience (and to help me not get lost). The new driver travels a little way and picks up another passenger. I started thinking to myself, “I wonder how we are going to split this fair?” Ha ha!! It gets even funnier. So as I am riding in this cab, it’s begins heading in the opposite direction of my house and Leonardo calls my cell phone to let me know he had arrived to pick me up. I responded, “Lo siento Leonardo, yo pensé que esto taxi ha llegado para mi de usted.” Essentially letting him know I thought this was the cab he sent for me. He was gracious and let me know that’s fine and not to worry about it. I felt terrible…
As we drove and my new driver continued to go in the “wrong” direction, per my understanding; I asked him where we were going? He kept saying to El Cento (downtown). I was like, no Señor, I lived in the other direction and pleaded that he take me back to the University as I had made a mistake. I immediately called Leonardo back and asked him not to leave and please wait for my return. He graciously agreed and the cab driver stopped at our next destination and got out to do something. I finally asked the other female passenger who was riding with me where was the meter inside the cab to tell how much you were to pay. She quickly said to me, in Spanish of course, ¨Es un Colectivo, El precio es 500 pesos.¨ When the driver returned I verified my suspicions that I had taken the wrong type of cab. This cab basically travels a short distance in the downtown area of Talca helping commuters to travel to and fro quickly in the congested downtown area traffic. So the Colectivo driver was so kind and joined me in laughing about my confusion. I apologized profusely and he next let me off at the next stop with directions of how to return to where Leonardo was aiting for me. Basically I needed to catch another Colectivo to get me back to Autónoma Universidad de Chile (AU). Sighhhhhhh….
Well, the Lord is gracious and the people of Talca are wonderful… the driver let me out at the appropriate place to catch the correct ride back and didn´t even charge me at all. Moreover, the woman who was riding in the cab with me got out to assist me in returning to campus as we walked together to the appropriate place for me to get the appropriate cab back to campus. I should have given her something for helping me but, I was so nervous about keeping Leonardo waiting and confused about what had happened that I didn´t think to do that for her to my everlasting shame. I know God is going to bless her for being a blessing to me today nonetheless. So, she places me in the right Colectivo to get me back to AU where Leonardo was patiently waiting for my return.
Leonardo and I had the best laugh as he drove me home and I explained to him in Spanish all that had happened in my exciting experience of the day. So in short, today was grand and I had another growth spurt in the school of Study Abroad Hard knocks. I am thoroughly convinced that that today´s experiences have contributed greatly to my need for a serious afternoon siesta today. 🙂