The Belize project seems to be gaining momentum every day. In case you haven’t been able to follow our progress thus far, we have been diligently working on the development and piloting of the survey, which was completed at the end of August. The first week of September we tackled the exciting task of training our field assistants to conduct the survey.
This training was incredibly enlightening and extremely fun to be a part of. We have three community members that will be conducting the surveys for us due to the Q’eqchi’ language barrier. Each of these individuals has such a unique and fun personality and brought new ideas and perspectives to the table during the workshop. We had Kenny Cal and Pedro Choc, Ya’axche staff, leading the translation portion of the workshop. We then had one of our assistants do a short presentation on customer service, relating the important aspects of customer service to pointers of having a good romantic relationship! It was incredibly creative and an excellent addition to the workshop. We even had a few of our CLTL classmates join to observe how this type of workshop might run, and to use this experience as a reference for their own projects.
The most crucial portion of the workshop was the discussion about translating each question to Q’eqchi’. Kenny and Pedro did an excellent job facilitating this section, addressing each survey question and ensuring the proper translation. Most of the translations went smoothly, but there were still a few surprising bumps including the use of the Likert scale ladder that Sarah and I created. We had changed this a few times throughout the pilots, but we thought that we had gotten it right by the end of the piloting. It ultimately came down to the difficulty of explaining a 5-point Likert scale in Q’eqchi’. This just emphasises a few of the difficulties of working in a cross-cultural environment. After a long discussion, we all agreed to continue using the Likert scale ladder, and just practice patience during the survey administration.
For now, this portion of our project is in the hands of our field assistants. While we wait for the surveys to be collected, Sarah and I are switching gears to begin working to extend Ya’axche’s current biodiversity monitoring protocol into cacao-based agroforestry plots so we can begin to understand the levels of biodiversity in these unique farming systems. This means spending time with rangers out in the field, working with a GIS specialist to select appropriate transects, and digging through relevant literature to create a new chapter in Ya’axhe’s Biodiversity Research Implementation and Monitoring Strategy.
We look forward to sharing our next adventure with you! Cheers from Belize!