While 5 (or… was it 6?) interviews in 2 days with various people in the Ugandan agricultural space might not seem like a great deal, in Kampala, our team considers this a big achievement, especially since 2 consecutive interviews took place on opposite sides of the city from one another. Kampala is a city with traffic problems that I have not been able to coherently describe, but for now let’s call it “citywide action art.”

During these interviews, I have been throwing out increasingly leading questions about the connections between tribal affiliations and the potential for an individual to become a rural community leader. I have yet to hear much about ethnic tension in rural communities from anyone we interview, but the housekeeper at the place we are staying has related all kinds of non-politically correct stories about tribal groups in western Uganda. For example, in Hoima, I am going to have to watch out for a bewitching, which will cause me to vomit frogs. However, since I am a Muzungu, I am not very likely to get bewitched. Was she joking, or relating to me a narrative about something she truly believes in?

During lunch today, Becky mentioned that no one has been biting on my questions about ethnic issues. Her brilliant idea was to revise the question, and ask it in a way that forces the subject to directly respond to the issue. The lesson: don’t give the interviewee too much wiggle room to sneak around the question.

A common assumption of many people who create agricultural extension projects seems to be that training a “community leader” in agricultural techniques will create a local information source that will improve the knowledge of the rest of the community. One of the things we are investigating is the tension between this assumption and the reality on the ground. Grameen, for example, provides smartphones to “Community Knowledge Workers,” (or CKWs) who then use these devices to help rural Ugandans search for information online. But how are these CKWs identified and hired? Are they the smartest? The loudest? The most educated? All of the above? Do the CKWs reflect some kind of bias that would dissuade other community members from utilizing the ICT services that they provide?