I have frequently been amazed by how quickly things can happen in Latin America if you talk to enough people, and I seem to have been talking a lot since I arrived in Colombia last week. I’m lucky to have a few friends here in Bogotá, and upon my arrival they began asking questions about what exactly my thesis research involves and what contacts I’ve already made. A few days later, emails started trickling in with helpful suggestions and useful contacts. Of course one might say that it would have been great to have these contacts before, but I’m certainly not going to turn them down.
So far, research has consisted of spending a lot of time in the public library in Bogotá, where I’ve been reading up on indigenous NGOs, land rights and involvement in sustainable development projects. I wasn’t expecting to find so much material in Bogotá, and it’s been great to realise that indigenous-lead NGOs have been very involved in positive political change at the national level. It’s also given me a lot to think about in terms of how I want to direct my research and to what use I can put the meetings I have organised in the coming weeks.
This weekend I head to the Caribbean coast where I will meet with representatives of the NGOs who headed the development project I’m studying, as well as leaders from the community at the center of the project. I’m excited at the prospect of adding some current perspectives to the background research I’ve completed in Bogotá, and about getting to know the people involved in the project I’ve spent so much time looking at from afar. I’m sure the change from chilly Bogotá weather to the warmth of the Caribbean won’t hurt either.. And of course, I will keep talking!
Posted by Cristal Downing – MA Candidate at CLACS