The other side of fieldwork: experiences and challenges of conducting research in the border area of Rwanda/eastern Congo
AbstractThis paper will explore various experiences and challenges that have occurred during my ongoing fieldwork. Beginning in March 2008 and continuing until October, fieldwork for this research has taken place in the border region of Rwanda and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), specifically in the cities of Cyangugu and Gisenyi, Rwanda, and to a lesser extent Goma and Bukavu, DRC. Most anthropologists in the field will experience feelings of isolation and loneliness. However, the current conditions of this region, which remains a conflict zone under tight government control, add another dimension. This has contributed to further feelings of isolation, frustration, fear, distrust, insecurity, and with no clear way to seek support for both the informants and the anthropologist. This paper will address these challenges and the ways that they impact on the research process itself, as well as the effects they have on the anthropologist.