What Two Deaths Taught Me about Doing Fieldwork

On November 7, 2012, I published this post on the Black, White and Gray blog hosted by Patheos.

“On this day 16 years ago—November 7, 1996—I walked in to my office at the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress in San Jose, Costa Rica, to find out that my boss, Joaquin Tacsan, had boarded a flight from Port Harcourt to Lagos, Nigeria that had exploded in the air. No one had survived.

Joaquin’s death hit me like a ton of bricks. I had recently graduated from Yale and someone told to apply for an internship at the Arias Foundation. For some reason, Joaquin saw my resume and offered me a job there. In the first 12 months, Joaquin increased my responsibilities, sending me to do fieldwork in El Salvador and Nicaragua on the reintegration of ex-combatants into civilian life, fieldwork that took me into numerous former zones of armed conflict and strongly shaped my later interest in earning a Ph.D. in sociology.

Just a couple of months before Joaquin’s death, I scared the daylights out of him by spending a weekend with a group of ex-Contras in Nicaragua…”

Click here to read the full post.