Title: Washoe ethnographer Anita Spring transcription of taped interview
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Title: Washoe ethnographer Anita Spring transcription of taped interview
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Anita Spring

CHRONICLER : Anita Spring

INTERVIEWER : Meredith (Penny) Rucks

DATE : 1/18/99

TAPE : 11

SUBJECT : Washoe Ethnographers

TRANSCRIBER : Linda Sommer

AUDIT-EDITOR : Penny.Rucks

Meredith (Penny) Rucks: OK.

Anita Spring: ... In a lot of other countries (we'll count

the number of countries in minute) is that the people from the

country itself who are on the team--and usually these are the

educated professionals who have formal positions either in the

project or in the ministry or in the university or in the

research complex--they have very strong ideas about how things

are in their country.

R: Yes.

S: OK. And when you do... and a lot of those ideas are...

from the anthropologist's point of view, are what we call "the


R: Is that the normative...?


Anita Spring

S: Normative. Yes

R: Yes.

S: What in fact, when I drag them.... [laughter] Sometimes

it literally is dragging them, because they're some... some of

them are reluctant to leave their cozy posts...

R: And go to the bush?

S: ... and go to the bush.

R: Yes.

S: When I take them to... and then to sit in people's

houses and get household data, that stuff... a lot of that stuff

is very real, although, you know, even when you talk to people,

they're giving you their best performance and telling you the

best stuff. But compared to the ideal stuff that people are

thinking, you know, these are... they may have never lived in the

rural areas themselves. They may have been urbanites, which is

why they were... you know, had access to education and are now

with their master... or bachelors, masters, or Ph.D.'s in the

research or extension or, you know, decision-making posts. So

they have very, very strong ideas. And when it comes to gender,

in particular, it's often up against a stone wall, as I found out

in... well, Ethiopia was a perfect, classic example. They knew

all about this crop; they knew that women only processed it.


Anita Spring 11-3

R: Yes.

S: Forget about the fact that women were the ones who knew

all the varieties and the planting techniques and helped do all

these other things. They were just focused on the fact that women

did cooking...

R: Yes.

S: ... and domestic aspects of the harvesting and

processing of the crop. I mean, that is a fight that continues to

this day, by the way. I mean, this is a very recent one...

R: Yes.

S: ... and one that will probably, you know, go into the

next century. [laughter]

R: Yes. Yes.

S: It's just amazing. So you take them... you take these

agricultural professionals out to the field, and you put them in

households, and you ask a series of questions. You've all worked

this.... [phone rings; tape is turned off, then back on]

R: OK.

S: And we've all worked together to prepare the list of

questions, because everybody wants to get his or her questions.

And then you actually ask those questions to real people, and you

get answers that are... you know, some of the answers, they are

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contrary to the belief system of the people asking the questions.

Now, they're not contrary to my belief system, because I'm open.

I don't care whether the answer is A, B, or C.

R: Right.

S: But the... some of these people think that, you know,

it's this way. And then you get an answer, and it's not that way,

and what's the response? The response isn't, "Oh, my goodness.

Isn't that interesting? I'll have to adjust my own belief

system." The response is, "They're wrong." [laughter]

R: Right. [laughter]

S: "I know more than they do. I'm educated; I'm a trained

professional. My opinion is better than their opinion."

R: Yes.

S: And so the stuff... they don't hear it.

R: Right.

S: It just, you know, slides off, or, you know, it's ba...

it may be troubling them, but they bury it.

R: Yes.

S: So it's really very interesting to watch that. And

then, of course, I come along, and I say, "Oh, well, yes. Here's

the story. So-and-so said it."

R: -Yes.


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S: And then it sets up a big argument.

R: And multiple so-and-so's said it.

S: And multiple so-and-so's said it, and then it sets up

really a big argument.

R: Yes.

S: And when it gets to something like gender... [laughter]

And these are very deeply.held beliefs.

R: And you must be frequently perceived as the messenger

that they like to go.... I mean, it must be... it's a very

delicate, diplomatic issue.

S: It's very delicate diplomatically, some of those

things. But my point was that the agri... this teamwork is

fabulous, and you do accomplish much more than a single

researcher. And you do get instant feedback... well, not maybe

not instant, but you do get feedback on a whole range of

subjects, and you tend not to make linguistic mistakes or

terminology mistakes, because they're corrected.

R: Yes.

S: And you tend not to get the categories off too far,

because peo... you know, you're working with people, and then

they say, "Oh, well, this means this, and that means that." You

say, "Oh, right," and then you make the correction. But you also


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come up against this problem of people's own cultural beliefs,

not wanting to believe that their culture or their society

actually either has a range of behaviors, has more flexibility

than they realized, does things that perhaps they didn't approve

of, and so forth.

R: Right.

S: Yes. So... and that's a very, very hard sell.

R: Yes.

S: So anyway, I experienced that, of course, in Malawi,

but that... they were so open to the subject of women in

development at that time, after the initial closed response, that

I... it wasn't too bad, and the data were so spectacular.

R: Yes.

S: Although I must say, the labor data, which showed that

women actually spent more time in agriculture than they did in

their domestic duties or the... that they spent so much time on,

you know, these farm operations, like planting, fertilizer

application, you know, the technical parts...

R: Yes.

S: ... of production. I did actually get people say--some

of these men--"That's because it takes them longer."

R: Oh, my god. All right.


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S: You know?

R: Yes.

S: Like... and there's still this notion that an hour of

woman's time and an hour of a man's time are not the same; it's

not the same hour. And the entire discipline of agricultural

economics, as a standard convention... now, I believe this must

be changing in the 1990s, but this has certainly been true up...

all through the 1980s and maybe for lots of people still today,

but certainly the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s... I don't when it


R: Yes.

S: ... that a woman's hour is counted as two-thirds of a

man's hour. And so you can pick up the standard literature on

farm labor allocations all over the planet, written by ag

economists, and it's just there. It's just in there. And, in

fact, in my reports and in my book on Malawi and in the analysis

of this very extensive data that I collected, I analyzed it two

ways. I said, "OK. Let's count it that way...

R: Yes.

S: [laughter]

R: Yes.

S: ... and see if it's still significant in terms of what


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they're doing. And then let's count it, the standard labor. An

hour of a woman and an hour of a man is exactly same." [Tape off,

then on]

R: OK.

S: And the data still showed that women were, you know,

doing much more in terms of agriculture than people gave them

credit for, or they were equal or more than (it depended on the

particular item) male participation, and certainly the amount of

hours was extremely significant or higher than their activities

in the domestic realm, et cetera. So, I mean, that was really

very interesting. But this notion that is maintained within the

literature is that a woman's hour counts differently, is

extraordinary. But I got on that, because I was talking about

how... what a hard sell it is to... often to people within the


The other thing I wanted to mention about methodology in

Malawi has to do with a very long and extensive series of

questionnaire instruments, which I don't think I mentioned


R: No.

S: Fifteen different survey and questionnaire instruments,

one of which was anthropometric measurements of the children in


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the household--weight, height, kinds of skin-fold dimen...

caliber dimensions, and so forth.

R: Yes.

S: This very standard anthropological... physical

anthropological assessments of human populations. But... and a

measured dietary intake protocol, which we had students from the

Bunda[sp?] College of Agriculture living in the villages for six

weeks and actually going to the households and watching what they

were eating and measuring it, measuring food commodities.

R: So that was not questionnaire; that was observation.

S: That... well, measurement and observation.

R: Yes. Yes. I mean, of the food, of what was actually

going in their mouths.

S: Yes. Yes. That was different than a twenty-four-hour

recall or... I mean, I think we did that, too, which is a

completely different kind of exercise. And then there were the

standard demographic questionnaires and the.... [tape off, then


S: So in addition to the diet and anthropometry, these

surveys had household composition, education profile; there was

one on migration and work history, one on natality and fertility.

Then there were a number of them on agriculture, specifically:


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garden inventory, which was all the different crops and

livestock, really, that people were planting; a questionnaire on

land tenure, how they got their land, how they disposed of it if

they did; garden labor questionnaire, in which... who did what,

all gender-disaggregated and age-disaggregated.

R: Yes.

S: A history of the gardens and their cultivation

practices through time was another one. Yet another was farm

planning their agricultural knowledge, you know, for example.

This was a staggering one. Fertilizer being such a valued

commodity in this landlocked country, it had to be brought in

from outside. And I was very curious to know if people really

knew what to do with it, like, how much to use and when to use


R: Yes.

S: So I went through a lot of procedures to get it...

questionnaires that... or questions that would elicit the answer.

R: Yes. Yes.

S: Anyway, I'll just tell you the results: about 50

percent of the people thought that you put the fertilizer on

right before the maize was tasseling,...

R: .Oh, boy.


Anita Spring 11-11

S: ... you know. And the ones who had been really

contacted who were mostly men had more information about putting

the fertilizer on at the very beginning of the planting process.

R: Yes. Yes.

S: So here's this incredibly scarce resource that was

being used much too late, just because people didn't have the


R: Right.

S: Or they didn't... you know, nobody had told them what

was really happening. So that was a pretty interesting one.

There was also... there were also questionnaires on their

experience planting maize. It was targeted to a specific

commodity and their production. And there was another

questionnaire on resources--where they got capital, where they

got labor, where they... farm machinery, all those kinds of

things--and their material wealth. I mean, what was their house

made out of? Did they have a radio, bicycle? One on extension

contacts: what had been their experience? Another one on change

and development: how did they view things as a result of these

projects that... you know, these large projects from the World

Bank and other donors? Had it affected their lives? So there were

fifteen of these different surveys, protocols, measurements; and

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then that was compared to data that had been collected in that

seven-thousand-household survey that had been funded by the World

Bank, and where there were comparable ones.... And some of the...

in one survey we managed to actually have a sample that used the

same people, found them that had been used in that survey. So...

R: Oh. my, that's....

S: ... so there was a lot... methodologically, there was a

lot of work on preparing instruments, testing them, piloting

them, finding a correct sample, or finding correct samples.

R: Yes.

S: I wanted a significant sample of female-headed

households, for example. I wanted a sample of the people who had

actually been part of the seven-thousand-household survey from

the previous couple of years, because that survey had actually

measured their plots and had been.... You know, the data we could

use from it was really significant. I didn't have the

wherewithal, the personnel, to actually go and measure people's

plots at that time and take, you know, weighed inventory of a

plo... of the...

R: Production.

S: ... production,...

R: Yes.


Anita Spring 11-13

S: ... you know, how much maize they were producing on

a... in a small plot, then extrapolated to a per-hectare figure.

R: Yes.

S: But that had been done on those other surveys. So, you

know, there... a lot of methodological work in sampling and

instrument preparation and analysis and coordination between

various kinds of surveys and questionnaires that had been done,

so that they weren't apples and oranges in terms of the data

comparisons. Spent a lot of time on that methodologically.

R: Yes.

S: And then... and the analysis--and this became a very

significant aspect of future methodologies--was the notion of

indicators. What were the indicators of... involved in

development and change, for example? Or what were the indicators

involved in production techniques? [sound of papers rustling]

R: So they're like representative indicators of....

S: Yes. Like, for example, let me read some of them to you

in terms of characteristics of households. So an indicator would

be the percentage of how house... of... sorry, the sex of

household head,...

R: Yes.

S: ... the percentage of households that were male-headed

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and the percentage that... female-headed and in various areas.

That's an indicator. An indicator or variable in terms of land

was the length of time the land had been held, and was there a

difference between the male-headed and female-headed? Or an

indicator of land, obviously, is the range of size or the mean or

the distribution size by type of household. An indicator in terms

of cropping pattern was a comparison between in... planting

innovative crops, newly introduced, versus planting the

traditional ones.

R: Yes.

S: The hectarage allowed for a particular crop by type of

crop. These were all indicators. Or in terms of wealth items--and

I think this is easy to understand--farm equipment, that's

indicator. Or consumer goods.

R: Yes.

S: OK. So I had... for all of those surveys, was able to

sum it up in terms of these indicators and then the findings in

terms of a comparison of households. The farming practices... you

know, did the... an indicator was fertilizer use.

R: Yes.

S: OK. Or....

R: Those are good examples.


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S: Yes. I think that gets the point across.

R: It does.

S: An indicator of change and development was credit

taking--who did and who didn't?--or use of inputs--who did or who


R: Yes.

S: Or people's notions of whether they thought there was

more or less food, so I called that changes in food self-


R: Now, for instance, we talked before that in order to

identify these indicators, you had done that, for instance, in

the case of the wealth, was the focus groups where people would

get together,...

S: Oh, yes.

R: ... would actually....

S: That's the Ethiopian case.

R: Yes.

S: Yes. So that whole methodology was really developed in


R: Yes.

S: In the... it was there a little bit in... before I went

to field,- but it was in the real analysis of the data that this



Anita Spring

idea that we could pull out the indicators. I mean, the...

this... the instruments had been designed with this in mind, and

it actually was a reality that you could pull the data out. They

were meaningful in terms of the data collected. That was good.


R: Yes. Yes.

S: So anyway, that's another methodology from Malawi, this

whole very elaborate survey, elaborate survey instruments, and

then the methodology not only of analyzing them statistically,

straight statistic analysis, but also pulling out the indicators.

R: And also... and I know you've made this point, but I

don't think it can be overemphasized, is the other, I think,

tremendous difference here is this immediate feedback from

immediate quick analysis...

S: Oh.

R: ... and then adjustment.

S: Yes.

R: Yes.

S: Let me comment on that, because as far as I was

concerned, the work in Malawi... there was too much data


R: [laughter]

Anita Spring 11-17

S: It took too long to analyze.

R: Yes.

S: It took too long to write that book.

R: Yes.

S: Of course, my life was interrupted by moving to Rome

and being an associate dean and, you know, all these other

things. And so the book just really lingered on for much too

long, even though I was writing articles, fortunately. And that

was sort of... those articles and my talks and everything were

getting out. And that's, as I said yesterday, why the project was

well known.

R: And wasn't the... was it the 1985 Congress of Women and

Development or meeting ....

S: The decade conference in Nairobi? I gave a paper...

R: My... on the Malawi work or...?

S: Probably.

R: Yes.

S: I'm sure it was.

R: Yes.

S: [laughter] Yes, I have a photograph of me giving the

paper, but I think...I'm pretty sure its content was Malawi at

the time,- or African women in Malawi, As An Example, was probably

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more like it.

R: Yes.

S: Something like that. But anyway, I was very excited by

the data that were collected; I was very excited by the

methodology that had been used in Malawi. All the other

methodologies that I talked about, with the exception of the

survey... really, a lot of those things had been analyzed and

presented. You saw those sort of informal, but bound...

R: Reports.

S: ... reports...that we just did them on a....

R: Merely for in-country purposes?

S: Yes. What is called, a dicta...?

R: Mimeograph?

S: No, it wasn't mimeograph. The next step--stencil.

R: Stencil.

S: Stencil.

R: Yes.

S: Yes. I started out with mimeograph,...

R: [laughter]

S: ... and it was so bad that I was able to upgrade to


R: -Yes.

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S: You know. And we had a copier and a stencil machine and

typewriters. [laughter]

R: Yes.

S: You know, it was the olden days.

R: Yes.

S: So... but it was working through the analysis of

fifteen protocols, two of.which were measurement data,[laughter]

for this large sample of, oh, 100, 110 households, and then a

separate sample of 58 female-headed households and then linking

it back to the surveys that had been done by the government of

Malawi and from their 7,000 households, pulling it out for that


R: Yes.

S: It was a mess. I mean, it just took years and years and

years to work through that. And, you know, by the time the

results come out, who cares?

R: Yes.

S: You know. And that's sort of standard anthropological

procedure and methodology.

R: Yes.

S: You know, you cook your data until, you know... you let

it simmer on the stove for a real long time. And then at the end


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it may be a very good product, but people are no longer hungry,

because, you know,...

R: Pretty bad! [laughter]

S: ... [laughter] they've gone off to eat something


R: [laughter]

S: Let's put it that way.

R: Yes. Yes. Yes.

S: So I was really very disturbed by that process.

R: I see, yes.

S: Very disturbed by the fact that these formal surveys

that were so elegantly designed... I mean, it was really very

elegant work, and the analysis, which was very careful, was just

so time-consuming.

R: Yes.

S: And, you know, if I had had, like, two years of

research leave when I came back from Malawi, I could have,

[clicks fingers] you know, whipped it out. But teaching full-time

and then moving up into the... that associate dean position and

then going to FAO--I mean, it was just impossible to work on that

stuff with the same vigor and rigor and time... just time-wise.

So it was-very piece... done in a very piecemeal way, and that's


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why it took so very long.

In the meantime, however, I did all kinds of projects that

did not take so long...

R: Yes.

S: ... and developed yet another methodology that has

given me a new outlook on life and which I feel very confident

using, and I love the results. I love doing them; I love teaching

people how to do them; and you get closure right away. And a....

[tape off, then on] A lot of it comes from the farming systems

research and extension methodologies. And I've sort of inputted

into that a lot of anthropological ways of doing things, because

a lot of the people who do farming systems are ag economists.

R: Yes.

S: There are anthropologists; I mean, and there are also

agricultural production people, like agronomists, even one or two

breeders, I'm sure, horticulturalists, soil scientists, and so

forth. But it's mostly... it's the social scientists, and then we

drag around the production people [laughter] and try to get their


R: And there's a lot of compatibility between economic

analysis and anthro

S: ,Yes. It's funny--to the anthropologists, the ag


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economists look like almost hardcore scientists, you know,...

R: Yes. Yes.

S: ... natural scientists. But from within colleges of

agriculture and agricultural discipline,...

R: They're the soft people.

S: ... they're the soft people.

R: Yes.

S: Yes. It's quite interesting.

R: Yes.

S: Anyway, let's see. After I left FAO, I did a series of

consultancy work and... yes, mostly consultancies, in which I

re... and then the research, my own research, in which I used the

rapid rural appraisal methodologies and started to prepare

written materials that would go along with these. They'd never

been published, and I never had time to really do this. And maybe

I will. I'm getting encouragement from a number of colleagues

that this stuff is pretty unique.

R: Yes.

S: But here's sort of how it went: I wanted to take these

teams of people, because we were evaluating a project, or we were

trying to figure out what was happening in an area. I wanted to

take them to the field, and I knew their perspectives were quite


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different than mine, and I was aware of the fact that they would

hold these prejudicial notions, and I knew we had to get to the

household level. So I started to put together these


R: And you had a short... relatively short time frame.

S: Yes. This is on a relatively short time frame to do it,

but in terms of time frame, you know, chronologically, I'm

dealing with the period from 1992 to 1997.

R: Yes.

S: It's in that time frame.

R: Yes.

S: And it's spurred on by the fact that the first year

after I've come back from FAO, in the summer of the next year, I

am hired to teach a course for the U.S. Department of Agriculture

in conjunction with Peter Hildebrand, who is the grand guru of

farming systems, research and extension, and an ag economist, for

a five-week course in the summer of 1992.

R: And where would this be?

S: And that was in Gainesville.

R: OK.

S: And the participants are from Nigeria, Morocco, Uganda,

and Pakistan.


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R: OK.

S: And they were all men. OK. And they're all agricultural

professionals who either have master's degrees or Ph.D.'s. And

Pete Hildebrand had developed a whole quantitative and

theoretical perspective on modified stability analysis, using the

Malawi data. And he had come to Malawi in about 1982, 1983, as a

visitor. And so those data then became, you know... and I haven't

talked about what those data were about and why they're so

spectacular, but maybe I'll get to it.

But anyway, so he and I were teaching the course together.

And then he pulled in a man named Tito French[sp?], who was in ag

extension, although actually he's an agronomist, but he'd worked

with the ag extension people in north Florida on a particular

crop, perennial peanuts. And so I did the rapid appraisal, the

fieldwork part, in which I would... took these agricultural

professionals after the training that we had given them to north

Florida to do the actual...

R: Oh.

S: ... fieldwork with farmers.

R: Yes.

S: OK? And so that was one of the... you know. I would

teach the methodology part on, you know, sampling and


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interviewing and how you analyze data, and what are the

techniques of eliciting data, and what are the... what are people

doing at the household level in terms of farming and gender

division of labor, and so forth. And Pete Hildebrand did his

modified stability analysis, and how do we calculate that, and

what does that mean at the local level, and what local farmers

are doing. So it was a very good, collaborative and... kind of


R: Yes.

S: ... teaching course, because I was picking up things

from him, and he was picking up things from me,...

R: Yes.

S: ... as we were teaching these agricultural


R: Yes.

S: And I might add that my affiliation with the college of

agriculture in these kinds of training courses then continued

through four more...? Three...? Yes. And the next round was...

were twelve Turkish agricultural professionals, who were all on

the same project in Turkey, a project actually funded by the

German aid agency, but they paid for them to come to University

of Florida, because this training program was so good.


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R: Yes.

S: And I took even more responsibility with that one and

did yet another round in north Florida with the perennial peanut

farmers. And then there was a group of... and there were women, a

couple of women, in amongst the ones from Turkey; I think two.

And then there was a group of only three from Bangladesh with a

woman who was head of whatever the agricultural unit was and

another woman and a man. That was a very interesting one, very


R: Yes.

S: And then there was a couple of Malawians who sort of

got some private training. They were hardcore male chauvinists,

but we worked with them. They never got to do the fieldwork part.

R: Yes.

S: And the Bangladeshis... I was right.., it was right in

the middle of the term, and I could not take the week off to do a

field exercise. So they wound up... I think we had one of the

senior graduate students in ag econ take them to organic farmers

in Alachua County or something.

R: Yes.

S: And so I did not do the fieldwork part of that. And

then there were other bits and pieces.


Anita Spring 11-27

R: So there's been real progress within the department of


S: Well, now, this... no, no, no, no, no. No. This was a

separate... they had constituted themselves as an international

training division within the office of international programs in

the College of Agriculture.

R: I see.

S: And their purpose, of course, was to get these outside

grant... well, they weren't grants--outside....

R: Yes. Contract.

S: Contracts is really what they were.

R: Yes.

S: So the first year it was the contract from USDA to hold

the training course. I thought it was going to be USDA the second

year, but it ran into financial and political snafus, and they

decided to go with their... you know, on their own. And they got

the contract from GTZED[sp?], the Germany agency, to do the

Turkish ag professionals. And then they got another contract from

the government of Bangladesh and something from Malawi, and

probably USAID, or the World Bank paid for that one.

R: So you... were you always working with the same team of

instructors or...?

Anita Spring

S: No. No. And then we were also trying to, you know,

develop a group of people... and they all had graduate students

involved in doing a lot of the training. And the... it turns out

that we've had these marvelous programs through that and other

parts of the university on training graduate students to do this

kind of training...

R: Yes.

S: ... and training of trainers. And a lot of that

methodology really evolved from my FAO, you know, work with

training people and coordinating people in that gender analysis

training program. So that was a natural.

R: Yes.

S: But anyway, so starting in 1992, I star... and going

forward for a good five years, I really started working on this

methodology of collecting data, how... training people on how to

collect the data, training people on how to analyze the data

collected in a very short period of time.

R: Yes.

S: So every single one of these rapid rural appraisals--or

let's just call them rapid appraisals, because they can be rural,

urban... doesn't matter--the research was done, the data were

collected., the report... the data were analyzed, and the report


Anita Spring 11-29

was written and completed in a very timely manner,...

R: Yes.

S: ... within weeks or no more than a months...

R: Yes. That's amazing.

S: ... of the end of the data collection.

R: Yes.

S: And this was a reaction--some might call it an

overreaction--to the length of time it had taken to analyze that

rather extensive data set from Malawi.

R: Now, in this rapid appraisal, is there an opportunity

that you were talking about...had identified before as one of the

weaknesses of standard methods--for the informants or the

participants at the ground level to comment on the results?

S: Well, in the Jamaica project there was, and I'll...let

me review what it is, and... yes, that's a good question, because

if I jump into that, I'm going to be ahead of myself.

R: All right. But....

[tape off, then on]

S: Yes.

R: OK.

S: What I did, eventually, was to distinguish between an

informal appraisal and what is possible, and what are the

Anita Spring 11-30

constraints, and what do you get out of it--and a formal survey.

And so I argued that, you know, in a very short period of time

and using multidisciplinary teams. You could do one of these

appraisals, and you recover about 60 percent of the data. In

other words, when you go out and talk to people.

R: Yes.

S: A lot of the methodologies or a lot of the procedures

for this, you don't really take notes. On the other hand, I would

always make up these reporting formats, so people would have a

place to write things in, in terms of the categories. So the data

and the analysis are available very quickly, and you can keep

modifying it as you go. Like, if yesterday you asked the question

wrong or you didn't ask about something, today you are not bound

to do it the same way.

R: Right.

S: So your questions and way you ask them and actually

even your sample, which is a casual... an informal sample, keep

changing, based on what you're finding out and your needs. If you

think, you know, X is the central key, and you keep badgering

people about X, if you find out that, well, you know,*you were

off base, you don't have to stick with it.

R: .Yes.

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S: You immediately change to Y and then go from there. So

you're never held back.

R: So it's really adaptive.

S: It's very adaptive, and you can keep changing your

notions of what the desirable data are, as you go through the

process. In other words, you can modify the stuff right on the

spot. And you can sample all stakeholders. So you can say, "Well,

this is not just a questionnaire of farmers in village X or a

stratified sample of householders in a project area. I'm going to

go talk to the extension agent. I'm going to go to talk to the

head of the project. I'm going to go talk to the minister of

agriculture and, you know, and find out what they think or what

they're doing or, you know, their opinion or so forth." So you

can include all the stakeholders.

Now, it's very qualitative.

R: Yes.

S: Get some general notions of frequencies.

R: Yes. Yes.

S: And believe me, I have actually done--you're not

supposed--some, you know, at least rudimentary quantitative... I

hate... I hesitate to say "statistical," because I'm not... I

would not do tests of significance on any of these kinds of data,


Anita Spring 11-32

but they are listed in charts, you know.

R: Yes. Yes.

S: And they're mostly frequencies and percentages and

means. I mean, I feel comfortable going that far.

R: Yes.

S: OK.

R: Yes.

S: So what I did is I would get people to understand the

nature of these informal appraisals, and I contrasted them with

the formal surveys. In the formal surveys you get all your data,

of course,...

R: Right.

S: ... that's your data, and you have a... it takes a long

time to collect. You may do it yourself, or you may use

enumerators. You're using actual survey questionnaire

instruments. If you're clever enough and conscientious enough,

you've piloted them, so you know that they actually work, but now

you can use actual measurements, and then you get statistically

valid and reliable data, which you can do tests of significance


R: Yes.

S: On the other hand, it takes a huge amount of time.

Anita Spring 11-33

R: Right.

S: And by the time... you know, for the Malawi thing

showed me that it just took so long to do really a comprehensive

survey. And my colleagues right now are bogged down in this in

Ethiopia. They moved from my rapid appraisal to a formal survey.

I don't believe they'll ever get it analyzed completely.

R: Yes. Yes.

S: You know, they'll get some rudimentary stuff, and it's

been a couple of years, and they keep wanting to go on and do

more and more and more and more. And everybody's got a million

questions. And they just... you know, they're going to grappling

with this for a very, very long time. Whereas I, you know,

helped... did the fieldwork, got the feedback, and we wrote up

the report. It's, you know, an inch thick of... and it was

written in a month.

R: Yes.

S: And it's done. And people have used it as the basis for

all kinds of things. And I don't think I'll ever see one of those

based on their formal survey, quite frankly. I'll see little bits

and pieces of it, but... you know.

R: Formal survey will probably end up validating your

results of that....

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S: I think it will.

R: Which will be useful monitoring....

S: Yes. Yes, that'll be really interesting.

R: Yes.

S: Anyway, so I developed that idea that there were those

differences, number one. Number two, a lot of this stuff is

scattered in the farming systems literature. And I pretty much

scoured it at one point and pulled out all the helpful hints and

charts. And a lot of the stuff is very graphic, and they're in

charts and in, you know, farm maps....

R: Which must have led to the indicators that you were

talking about?

S: I'd gone through the indicators, and I went through the

farming systems literature, which I collected from everywhere.

And FAO had a unit on farming systems, as well; I thought a bit

archaic. But I'd been participating in the farming systems

meetings, had been a banquet speaker; I'd given papers; I... it's

involved in the... it's a worldwide network of people.

R: Yes.

S: And I'd gotten all the Asian materials, and-they

were... they're very advanced in farming systems in the

Philippines, for example, and because of RRI[sp?], you know, the


Anita Spring 11-35

Rice Research Institute.

So I really was pulling all of these things, as were these

graduate students who were involved in the course, from the

farming systems literature and putting them into packets, and

the.... When I say graphic materials, I mean, there were charts,

there were graphs, there were maps, you know, really those kinds

of materials--and tables. So, for example, I'm looking at one

from Swaziland. [sound of rustling papers]

R: Yes.

S: And I went to Swaziland; I... it was a consultancy for

USAID. It was to evaluate a project on commercial agriculture and

marketing that AID had funded or was in the process of funding.

The process... the project was ongoing. And I got there, and I

thought, "Well," you know, "did the people on the project and

does the team know about what farmers are really doing--the

farmers who were project participants?"

R: Right.

S: "Or are we just going to, [laughter] you know, have

hearsay from project personnel on what participants are


R: Right.

S: ... which is what everybody had in mind, which was, you

Anita Spring 11-36

know, the standard kind of thing.

R: And also taking you on very controlled field trips.

S: Very controlled. "This farmer is doing very well, so

we're going to see farmer, you know, X, and forget about all the

rest of it."

R: Right.

S: So that didn't wash. And, of course, I wanted to do a

rapid appraisal of the participants and find out from them what

they thought of the project. Thought that was a rather, you

know,... [laughter] logical way of doing it. USAID gave me

permission to do it.

R: Yes.

S: The project staff agreed to participate, because I

could not do it without them.

R: Right.

S: I wasn't trying to go around them. I was trying to

involve them. My two male colleagues, of course (I think I

mentioned this), did not participate.

R: Yes.

S: OK.

R: Yes.

S: They were too busy reading a chart or, you know, or

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something of no consequence,...

R: Yes.

S: ... because, well, "what an odd idea". So I had not

brought with me any materials at all in terms of training

materials or farming systems materials. I had brought stuff

about Swaziland, and, you know, I'd had a couple of books. I

didn't have a long time to prepare for.... It was something that

just came up...

R: Yes.

S: ... very, very quickly, and the timing was right, and

it seemed intriguing and, you know.

R: Oh, yes.

S: I wasn't... I think I wasn't the first person tapped to

do it, and then that other person couldn't do it. And so all of a

sudden I had a week to get ready, you know. End my activities in

Gainesville and pack my suitcase and get on the plane. So I

didn't have anything with me.

R: Yes.

S: I created the training of train... the training course

from memory and typed it out. Here it is [laughter]. So I had to

create, you know, the distinctions between formal and informal

surveys. I had to create the charts on farmer diversity,


Anita Spring 11-38

stakeholder analysis, modes of interacting with farmers, kinds of

questions, the chronology and procedures for doing an appraisal,

and the perspectives taken, the kinds.... And then related to the

local project at hand, what were the kinds of data? What was the

kind of information needed?

R: So... but in this case, weren't you yourself conducting

the rapid appraisal?

S: Yes.

R: You weren't training other people to do it?

S: Correct. Correct. So then I had to make it appropriate

for the project at hand.

R: Yes.

S: How... you know, what was the information needed

that... to do that? How much of it had already been collected by

the project?

R: Right.

S: What were the impacts of the project? What were the

farmer characteristics of participants and nonparticipants? What

were the questions that were needed to be...?

R: Oh, nonparticipants, of course.

S: Yes.

R: Yes.

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S: Yes. Nobody ever thought of that.

R: Yes... "Why aren't these people involved?"

S: Yes. Pretty important.

R: Yes.

S: But that is the stuff that is always left out.

R: Yes!

S: Nobody would ever think of that.

R: Yes.

S: What were the benefits to being participants, you know,

in terms of not only agriculture and production, but in terms of

the rest of [other aspects of] their lives? I mean, these are

people, not machines, growing these things. So I kind of created

the handouts and did a training course. It was not a long one.

R: Yes.

S: Seems to me it was like a day in length. But these were

the people who were on the project and people from USAID, and I

think there might have been one person from the....

R: About how many people are we talking about?

S: I... well, I think we're talking about eight or ten


R: And these were all going... these people were... you

were going out as a team...


Anita Spring 11-40

S: Yes. No. We were teams.


S: I don't like teams that are bigger than three people.

R: Right. OK. So you would find the people...

S: So I was... I think.., here was my methodology in all

these things: I'm only one person; I can't be with every team.

But that's OK. That's why I had to give them the training course.

R: Got it. OK.

S: And so I carefully selected who would be the team...

R: Team leader.

S: ... leader of the other two teams. And then I... we

would switch participants. So I would... you know,... they

never... day two, I was... it was another configuration.

R: Yes.

S: OK?

R: Yes.

S: And day three was another config.... The teams did not

stay the same every day. And then at the end of the day--this is

part of the methodology--you reconvene--this was pretty shocking

for people--which means you go after five o'clock. [laughter]

R Yes.

S: Not popular! You come back after collecting your data

Anita Spring

each day and talk about them and say....


End of Side 1, Beginning of Side 2

S: ... in the dropout category pretty soon. The project

itself--and remember, these are staffed by American

professionals, ag professionals--had certain conceptions about

who their farmers were and about what their farmers' problems and

constraints were. And it turns out that they were somewhat

correct in some ways, and they were completely off base in

others. They had no idea of the diversity of size of land

holdings, for example. They were not very astute on the

differences in male and female participation and/or dropout

rates. There... you know, all kinds of things in terms of what

farmers really understood, in terms... I... you know, that

knowledge base.

R: Yes.

S: I was always interested in the knowledge base. That was

from the Malawi work.

R: Yes.

S: So did they really understand the project principles

and procedures or the way they were supposed to, you know, plant


Anita Spring 11-42

the green beans or the peppers and tomatoes. And did they

understand the marketing structure and so forth? So I had a lot

of questions like that, as well.

R: Yes.

S: So they really were very pleased to.... They were very

open, the people on the project, it turned out. That group was


R: Yes. Yes.

S: So they were very pleased to have that information, to

be able to understand their participants better.

R: Yes. That's great.

S: So they were fine. AID liked it, and the people who

came from AID, and I think it was just one or two, and the one

person, I think from the Ministry of Agriculture. All the people

who participated in the assessment... and then we were trying to

write it up, although it was mostly, in this sense, my

responsibility to write up, because I was the consultant. I was

actually hired to produce a product.

R: Right.

S: So it wasn't a real team approach in the writeup. But

it was a team approach in collecting the data and discussing it.


Anita Spring

R: Right.

S: The project staff and the ministry and the AID didn't

feel that that was their job description to produce a report. I

was the one who had to produce a report. OK. It wasn't a team


R: Right.

S: OK. So that has.to be said for that particular one.

R: Yes.

S: But they really felt that they benefitted both from the

methodology and from finding out what their participants were

doing and what their participants thought of their project. So,

now, my two male colleagues were disinterested.

R: Throughout?

S: Throughout. They didn't even want to listen to how the

participants.... Turned out they had another agenda. They were

trying to get the project transferred away, and I didn't find

this out until the end. They were... their whole agenda for the

entire time was to get the next phase of the project transferred

for the... to the development company which had hired them and

myself, as well, and to take the leadership and the... that

contract away the teams...

R: -Oh, that....


Anita Spring

S: ... that was actually...that carried it out--the

organization, another development company. And....

R: Were these private companies?

S: Yes. They were, you know....

R: NGOs and....

S: No, not NGOs. These... you know the "Beltway Bandits"--

what we call the "Beltway Bandits,"...

R: [laughter]

S: ... which has become a euphemism for these, you know,

independently constructed companies of very good professionals,

often, who get contracts from USAID or the World Bank to do

projects internationally....

R: I'm not sure a lot of people are aware of that in the

context of USAID....

S: Yes. Well, this has been going on for a long time. A

lot of them are located in that area, in Washington, northern

Virginia, and southern Maryland. That's why they call it "around

the beltway." It goes around that whole area. That's why they're

euphemistically known as the "Beltway Bandits."

R: So a potential competing company of that nature had

hired the... for an assessment of the existing....

S: -No, no, no, no, no, no, no.


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R: OK. OK.

S: I'm sorry; I've gotten you confused. I don't re... I'd

have to look in my notes. I've forgotten which company...

R: We can clarify that.

S: ... had the contract.

R: Yes.

S: OK. Let's just call it company A.

R: Yes. Yes.

S: OK. And company A, of course, found, you know, the

agronomist, the statistician, the horticulturalist,...

R: Right.

S: ... the marketing specialist. I've forgotten... you

know, I think there were seven professionals, something like

that, on this project.

R: Yes.

S: OK. Now, USAID puts out a request for proposals and

RFQs [Request for Quotations; or RFPs, Request for Bids ?] and

all those kinds of things. And universities, development

companies prepare their proposal and bid on these things. And

just as the University of Florida had gotten the contract for

Malawi or Cameroon, then Oregon State and the consortium for

international development took it away and got that. OK.


Anita Spring

R: Right.

S: So sometimes they go out to universities; sometimes

they go out to these development companies; and often they're in

competition. And then people put together conglomerates of them,

like two development companies or two development companies and a

university...that... all kinds of ways of....

R: Right. And mix and match personnel....

S: ...Mixing and matching personnel to staff these.

R: Yes.

S: But they all have these tremendous overheads, which is

why people want to get them. And that keeps these development

companies functioning. OK. That's what they're there for. And the

rationale that, you know, the staff that manages... or that's

employed by USAID, they don't have time to leave their desk and

go out and do a project in three countries simultaneously.

R: Right.

S: Because I mean, we have a project portfolio--the

American government does--you know, in so many countries. And

then we have just an administrative staff....

R: So there's a whole industry of...

S: Oh, huge industry. We have an administrative staff in

Washington and in each country that oversees it, but they don't


Anita Spring

personally go out and, you know, do ten projects simultaneously

in ten different countries. It's impossible.

R: Right.

S: So they hire, you know, universities. And it's part of

a system to keep our professionals in America at universities up

to date and involved with international....I mean, it's a very

clever and coordinated system. And it also allows the U.S.

taxpayer to not think that we are just taking money and giving it

to people overseas. We're actually paying our own country people,

you know--Americans-- to staff these projects with some local


R: No, that was good...The fundamentals there.

S: That's the fundamentals. That's how that works. Anyway,

the project people were very happy about it. These two men who

were... one was the team leader, had worked for USAID, and was

now working, I don't know, either full-time, part-time for this

other development company.

R: Yes.

S: Their agenda was to evaluate the project in such a way

that it would not be renewed from company A, and it would...

company B, their company, because they would have a much better

chance of- bidding on it, because they'd know the ins and outs


Anita Spring

that these two men were going to tell them in the report and in

other conversations as to what was happening, and they might get

the next phase.

R: Yes.

S: And, you know, it took me a long time to figure that

out. It was very subtle. I mean, obviously, I wasn't supposed to

figure it out, nor was anybody else.

R: Right. Right. Right.

S: But, of course, I figured it out and I was horrified.

R: Yes.

S: And the people in AID, I think, eventually saw through


R: Yes.

S: Wasn't up to me to blow the whistle.

R: Right.

S: And I had no proof.

R: Right. No. And you can't, and then there... and you're

in an impossible situation to be...

S: Impossible. And I was a junior person, female.... I

mean, you know, but I finally personally figured it out,...

R: Yes.

S: ... and these were men who'd never worked in Africa


Anita Spring

before. Or at least one of them, for certain, and the other, very

peripherally. It was horrifying. Really horrif.... But I didn't

let that bother me. I went on to, you know... I'd have to deal

with them. They'd talk about their dates in... at the Ithaca

fraternities many years ago. When I got really frustrated, I

would interrupt them and do a movie review.

R: [laughter]

S: I thought, you know, they were, you know, at least

polite. I mean, they made me... I was polite. I had to sit there

and listen to this inane conversation, and then I would say....

After they finished talking about what happened at the fraternity

party forty years earlier, [laughter] for what reason I could not

fathom, I would say, "You know? One of the best movies I saw...."

And then I would proceed to take the floor and talk about and do

a movie review, just for comic relief,...

R: Yes. Yes.

S: ... to try to get the subject....

R: How amazing.

S: Oh, it was so terrible!

R: Yes.

S: Really, really terrible. But anyway... so during... you

know, those were at mealtimes, because we would have these


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dinners together at...

R: Oh, yes. You had to....

S: Yes. And when... you know, I tried to get people to

talk about farmers' responses to the project, [laughter]... and I

wondered... I kept wondering why, you know,...

R: What in the world they were talking about.

S: ... what happened at the fraternity party and their

date forty years ago was of any interest whatsoever, when there

was all this incredible data to be discussed.

R: Yes.

S: So I would always start with my... you know, the

findings and so forth, and it would dissolve into the...

[laughter] this insane conversation.

But anyway, be that as it may, they... AID was very, very

pleased. And the project people were very, very pleased with the

analysis of the data. And I even gave them some suggestions on

how to analyze the data that they were collecting in terms of

categories of farmer and in terms of gender and so forth.

R: Yes.

S: So I was quite pleased with my participation there, and

the people in the AID mission was... were pleased, and....

R: To put this in perspective, how long was this


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particular time?

S: This was... it seems to me it was about two and a half


R: So in two and a half months you needed to train field

staff to actually collect this assessment data and collect it,

evaluate it to some extent, to fine-tune, and then...

S: Write it up.

R: ... go back and write it up.

S: Yes. And it was all done.

R: And you wrote up...

S: In-country.

R: In-country. Ah.

S: OK.

R: OK.

S: So it was either two or two and a-half months.

R: Yes.

S: I'd have to look back at the exact time frame. It

seemed to me it was May, June, and a little bit into July.

Something like that. So that was 1993.

R: Yes.

S: And, of course, 1992, in the taking the ag professional

to north Florida, that was a five-week training course, one week


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in the field and one week to write up the results and come out

and finish.., with the finished product. They... but they wrote

the report on the perennial peanut. OK. So that.... And let's

see, I've forgotten the date of the Turkish professionals. It

probably was either 1993 or ninety... maybe it was 1994. The


R: Yes.

S: ... the same thing: fieldwork for a week; write up the


R: Yes.

S: OK. Then in 1993... must have been 1993, I met this

woman who was a geologist in the Department of Geology at the

University of Florida, who was originally from Jamaica. And we

started having conversations about doing a project on the

environment in Jamaica. She's Kathy Ellins, and she's the one who

gave me the idea for the project in Jamaica. And we put together

a joint proposal and submitted it to the North-South Center,

which is a federally funded center located in Miami. I have never

been there. It was a marvelous proposal, I thought, very, very

scientific, that would measure water quality and put that

together with people's ideas about the environment and the....

R: Was this like a watershed analysis?


Anita Spring

S: In a way, yes.

R: Yes. In a way.

S: Yes, of the whole wetlands area in southwest part of

the country. And she was going to do the water quality stuff and

the geology and so forth. And I just loved it, because I... you

know, I could understand with my chemistry background the work

that she was going to do in the waterborne analysis of pollutants

and contaminants.

R: Yes.

S: However, the North-South Center did not understand it

and rejected the proposal. And in their letter they were very

keen on all the stuff I was going to do, and they did not want

the... what I would call the heavy science part that she was

going to do.

R: Well, the biological....

S: And they... I later found out that most of the

committee were social scientists. [laughter]

R: Oh, oh, oh.

S: I thought the proposal was great the first year. But we

did submit it again. And this time the science part was reduced,

and the social science part was enhanced, and not only....

R: .So the shoe was on the other foot?


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S: Yes. It was quite amazing. Even though I personally

liked the proposal better the first year.

R: Right.

S: It's interesting.

R: Well, one theme throughout your... this part of your

career has been an effort to truly have an interdisciplinary team


S: Yes.

R: ... multiple...

S: In every... to every...

R: ...multiple disciplines, everything.

S: And the disciplines and the perspectives should be

equal in terms of their contribution, in terms of the personnel.

R: Yes.

S: I mean, it's not that you need the same dose of this

methodology as that methodology or this dis....

R: Right.

S: But where it was called for, you had all of what you

needed, and one person wasn't higher or lower. And, you know, I

was very.., you know, that Cameroon experience started me off...

R: Yes.

S: ... on seeing that, and the Swaziland one just


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accelerated my thinking on how... you know, why were these people

preeminent? They weren't interested in really evaluating the

project at all or finding... you know. It really annoyed me.

R: Yes. And then you found out they really weren't.

S: [laughter] They really weren't,...

R: Yes.

S: ...it turned out. But that was, you know, after the


R: Yes.

S: ... that I really got some information that it was

really that way. But anyway....

R: Resubmitted....

S: Resubmitted, enhanced the social science part, and

there'd been a suggestion by one of the reviewers....

R: And how did you enhance it, just as a for example? I


S: Well, first of all, the first project proposal had all

the analysis of waterborne pollutants in it, so we just took it

out. Therefore, the... what was left was there, you know. And so

it looked enhanced, let's put it that way.

R: Yes. Yes.

S: Focused on people. And also, they had suggested that we


Anita Spring 11-56

have some workshops to work with people, and they didn't know how

it was going to turn out. But they... just the idea of one of the

reviewers, "Maybe you should have some workshops." So....

R: Which is a really good idea?

S: Which is a good idea. So then the second proposal had,

you know, information about... I mean, or parts... components on


R: Right.

S: ... and budgetary funding for workshops as opposed to

the analysis of waterborne samples. So the budget was all


R: Which all your experience had prepared to organize


S: Yes,...

R: Yes.

S: ... indeed.

R: Yes.

S: Yes. But, you know, so the... so it was a completely

different project, you know. Take away the budget for... and the

whole part on waterborne contaminant analyses and add


R: Right.

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S: ... so it was, you know, mostly social science,

although there were... there was a budgetary category on aerial

photographs to do analysis of change that the geologist was

supposed to do--you know, the GIS stuff and remote sensing and

all that stuff which I couldn't do. I don't know the techniques.

R: Was there have been... this is a little bit on a

sidetrack, but I just want to ask you, would there have been an

opportunity in that component to do a historic analysis of change

in landscape, or was all...

S: Yes. That was what...but it wasn't from a historian's

point of view.

R: Yes.

S: It was from the aerial photographs that were data sets

that were taken at three different times. And it was from a

soc... from a geological... I've forgotten the name of the

technique. Those stereoscopic.... There's a whole methodology,

and I'm sorry I've forgotten the name of it, that she was

supposed to do.

R: Yes. To analyze changes in landscape.

S: Yes. And amounts of forest cover but all from a

scientific point of view, not from eliciting people's history of



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R: Right. Right.

S: Completely different methodology. But, yes, in that

sense, chronological and through time. But very scientific and

with measurements. She never did it. But anyway, that's another


The other thing--and this is very funny--in terms of

budgets, they were horrified that we would have in the budget

money for a boat.

R: [laughter]

S: I mean, not to buy a boat, but to rent some time to be

in a boat. Now, this is project in the wetlands and places...

R: [laughter]

S: Is that...? Did that click off?

R: No. I'm...

S: ... places that you could not get to... [laughter] by

either walking or driving or by road, so....But they didn't

understand that. The very fact that they funded a project in

Jamaica... because when you say "Jamaica," it's... you know,

Jamaica gets a million tourists a year. And I'm not making that

figure up. That is the published government figure.

R: Yes.

S: -It's almost a million. Nine hundred thousand and eighty


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five hundred and eighty-seven.... You know, I mean, you know,

it's almost a million tourists per year. And also, it's just

thought of as, you know, glamorous vacation spot. So a project in

a glamorous vacation spot with a boat in it or rental of using a

boat is just too much for... you know, peo... committees...

R: To understand.

S: Yes, academic committees to understand. [laughter]

R: Yes.

S: So I put in for generic vehicle rental. And it


R: A vehicle for....

S: Vehicle,...

R: Yes.

S: ... you know.

R: Transportation.

S: Transportation...

R: Yes.

S: ... and a little, tiny bit... and I think I said, "Boat

rental, eight hundred.dollars," something. Oh, and the reason we

needed it the first round, she was going to take water samples

from the middle or the sides of the morass of the wetlands.



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R: Yes.

S: How was she going to collect the samples except by

boat? [laughter] You know. I mean, it was so ludicrous that they

had no understanding of it.

R: Right. Right.

S: Anyway, the second year it got funded. Unfortunately,

her participation was very attenuated, because it was a year

later, and she actually did leave the University of Florida, and

it became, you know, quite problematic not to have her

participation. But she was connected in Jamaica, having grown up


R: Oh, my.

S: She was one of the white Jamaicans of the elite. Now,

elites in Jamaica come in all shades and ethnicity. But she was

connected at the highest levels in Jamaica. Her family had owned

the company that produced Red Stripe, the major Jamaican beer.

R: Yes.

S: And they had, you know the brewery, and they didn't...

they no longer owned it, but that's where she came from. And so I

had entree into kind of some very interesting people in the

capital city, Kingston. But my work was in southwest Jamaica in a

ver... in a remote wetlands, village-oriented, non-touristic


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R: Right.

S: And, in fact, I never got to Montego Bay or....

[laughter] I never wanted to go there, which is really terrible,

but you know, I did go to Ocho Rios, which is one of the main

tourist spots. I was there for about an hour and a half, and I

just had to leave. I couldn't take it. Compared to my part of

Jamaica, where people treated you like a person, not as a tourist


R: Yes.

S: I couldn't stand it. And nor was I about to go these

large, you know, sheltered, confined, on-the-beach, you know,

beach-scene-out-there kinds of hotels, which is what the northern

part of the country is lined with.

R: Yes. And it's really like, "Only look here."

S: Yes. And then the local people that... whom they come

in contact with are either trying to sell them something that...

you know. And they see foreigners and white people, although

there... as I said, there are some white Jamaicans.

R: Yes.

S: But they see people in those areas as their targets and

as someone to sell their products, whether it's aloe lotion or a


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massage or, you know, these concoctions, or a craft product.

R: Yes.

S: And I just couldn't stand being categorized, nor could

I stand watching the scene. Had my project been on tourism, it

would have been fascinating, but it wasn't. And so I did... I

try... I avoided that whole part of Jamaica.

R: Yes.

S: So when people... you know, here I had five trips to

Jamaica, [laughter] ranging from two weeks to two months in

length, and this was a project that was done over a two-year

period, 1994 to 1995. And I managed to only know both the rural

area and the capital city, which people say all kinds of very bad

things about Kingston, some of which are deserved.

R: Yes.

S: And having missed all the touristic aspects... I did

get to Negril, which wasn't too bad, and actually found the

beaches very, very beautiful. But, you know, and having gone to

some of the very most remote areas of the country and having

worked there, it's a very different experience and perspective

from most people who, you know, just travel to Jamaica, and most

of these movies.... There's a new movie on this subject and what

Jamaica is like and how people interact.... It's completely


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different. So I have a completely different perspective on the

country and on the people.

And so I was based in the town of Black River. I had a

Jamaican counterpart; I had linkages to the University of the

West Indies campus. That was important for the North-South Center

to see that there were these institutional linkages. And I was

hoping I would get these people as participants, because I was,

of course, going to do another rapid appraisal to find out what

was happening.

R: Yes.

S: And, of course, I worked in Jamaica with great

trepidation, because you recall the example I told you of the FAO

story of the wonderful coordinating projects being turned into

jellies and jams, with the intermediate position of drumsticks as

a possibility. [laughter] That didn't materialize, either. So it

had gone from the highest to the lowest level in that episode.


R: Yes.

S: And the fact that I knew that there was a... there were

a large... there was a large number of Jamaican professionals

who... and women professionals and who did not want to be told

what to do by people from the north, you know, from outside


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people and from Americans and so forth. So, you know, I had great

trepidation. I'd never been to Jamaica, and, of course, it's a

common experience--especially people from Florida--to fly down to

the Caribbean.

R: Yes.

S: I'd never even been there. When I wrote the project

proposal and got there for the first time, yes, I'd never even

seen the country before.

R: Yes.

S: Had a lot of trepidation about that. Nevertheless, the

rural area of the town of Black River and the lower Black River

morass and all the communities in the area became very familiar

to me. And I drove every street and road and mapped it out

photographically and worked with teams of local people, the local

environmental group.

R: Other than the changes in the technology of cameras and

everything, had your methodology for mapping changed that much

from what you'd actually figured out in Dresslerville and learned

at San Francisco State? I mean, in talking about the camera as a


S: Well, actually using maps,[laughter].

R: Yes.


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S: You know, I had this methodology of laminating,

painting these maps with this solution, and laminating it and

then giving copies of that to everybody on the team and whole

series of maps and blowing them up and then working with these

maps, writing on them, and looking at microecology. So in a

sense, it wasn't just a static, "Let's photograph it," but,

"Let's analyze the landscape."

R: Yes.

S: So it was landscape analysis.

R: Yes. Yes.

S: So in that sense it was really very different.

S: But obviously, building upon that very standard

methodology, but taking it one step further and looking at the


[tape off, then on]

S: OK. So I had this training course, and this time it

lasted several days. And I had some people who even came from the

University of the West Indies, because they wanted to learn the

methodology, and a local environmental person, some.... And in

this project I had five students, four of whom were from the

University of Florida, two doctoral students and two master's

students, and I had one master's student from the University of


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the West Indies, who were part of this project. Now, the fact

that a project is in Jamaica from Florida is... makes this all

possible, because the airfare is something like $375 to $400,...

R: Yes.

S: ... and students could afford it. Now, I had positions

on the project for two students, the West Indian student-the

Jamaican student, and one.American student. But the other three

students at any one time, they weren't all there for all parts of


R: Right.

S: And I was able to fund, I think, one other to come on

one or two trips. But they were able to pay the amount of the

airfare and it wasn't so terrible. And the living arrangement

that I was able to get for people was... I found this house after

very careful scouting. It took a long time. I found this kind of

pensione-type place that had six bedrooms and six bathrooms...

R: Yes. Perfect.

S: ... and was right on the sea, right on the ocean. The

Caribbean Sea is what it really was. And I negotiated a price for

the whole thing, and so it, you know, was really, really cheap,

like fifty dollars a week or something like that. And actually,

since it was so cheap, I just covered the whole thing under the

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project. So I could offer free room, and all they had to do was

pay their airfare and pay for their food. And I could offer free

transportation in the country, because I had in the budget car

rentals. So I... you know, they could get around; they had the

leadership of the project, and they could... the ones who were

not funded totally by the project. So I could entice them that

way. And they were... you know, several students who were just,

you know, dying to get their fieldwork experience in, and so

forth. And we got one master's thesis from it. I had hoped to

have gotten one... a doctorate from one of the students. He would

have had to have come back, but he had some medical problems and

never completed his degree. But the master's student was


R: Yes.

S: And then the other doctoral student decided that was

not the country for her, and she went off and worked in another

place and is in the process of writing her dissertation.

R: But not

R: employing these kinds of techniques, though?

S: Well, I don't know. I mean, but she you know, she

did... she understood some of them. She missed the first

training. She kind of joined it late, so she didn't get the full


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immersion in the rapid appraisal methodology.

R: Yes.

S: Now, this rapid appraisal methodology in Jamaica was so

very nicely developed because of having the input of Jamaicans

very much integrated in the process from the very beginning. So

my Jamaican geologist colleague, another Jamaican who originally

was on the progra... the project, who later kind of dropped out;

the couple of people from the University of the West Indies; the

West Indian student who was with the project the entire time;...

R: Yes.

S: ... and myself and at the first round... let's see,

it'd be the three American students; the fourth one didn't come

until the second phase. And, you know, we went out--we were

nine... I think nine people in total--in three teams and then

every night would meet and go over the data. And it was total

immersion in the culture. There was nothing else... there's no

other place to go; there's nothing to do.

R: Right.

S: You know, it was really wonderful. At this point we

were staying in a hotel, but the... it was... it's a very laid-

back place, and there was very little tourism. And, you know, we

had the run of the outside gazebo, and we had part of the dining


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room, and we really had the run of the place.

R: Yes.

S: And we could stretch out and have our flip charts and

poster boards and.... And we also had the local guy who was the

environmental officer in the area. It was just absolutely


R: Yes.

S: And we would argue long and hard about... People were

really into this, and they were not annoyed by having to work

after five o'clock, which was marvelous.

R: Right.

S: Oh, I know--the hotel gave us a whole room where we

could leave our stuff for a week.

R: Yes. Yes. That's wonderful. Yes.

S: So the logistics were, you know, all sorted out, and

the meals were there, and I could order tea breaks, because I had

money from the project to pay for this--you know, with sandwiches

and stuff. It was great. And so I had everybody's full attention.

R: Yes. Yes.

S: And I don't think people realize how important that is.

In, you know, a lot of this project work, you know, they won't

pay for those kinds of things. And then everybody scatters, and


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to try to reconvene them... you know, the day is completely

wasted. But we were there; everything was brought in; we had a

place we could leave our stuff. Perfect.

R: Right.

S: And I had the money to pay for it in the project. So

that was marvelous. We had the transportation that was paid for.

So the car rental... part of the budget. So we could go off and

collect the data, and then we argued long and hard about how to

analyze what we had collected, and what were the actual systems,

and who were the stakeholders? And here, again, this stakeholder

analysis became very important. Most people would have just

looked at the people in the morass. But as we started even to

look at the people in the morass, we realized there were fisher

folk, and there were people who did morass fishing and people who

did deep sea fishing.

R: Yes.

S: There were the shrimp sellers; these were... or

"higglers," as they're called, h-i-g-g-l-e-r-s, in the Caribbean,

and these were women. There were farmers, and farmers were in

all, literally, sizes and shapes. There were subsistence farmers;

there were small-scale farmers; there were commercial farmers;

there were people who grew crops or people who raised livestock,

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I mean, and all combinations thereof.

R: Yes.

S: There were people who were craftspersons, who made

baskets. And the women were the basketmakers for the most part,

although some men. And woodcarvers were mostly men. There were

men, predominantly, who were the charcoal makers and loggers. So

all of those people, as far as I was concerned, impacted on a

study of the use of the landscape, the use of the environment,

the potential contributors to pollution or problems in the

wetlands. And most people would have stopped there. But then we

realized that the... there were some... a little bit of

ecotourism there for people who really got sick of hype in the

northern part of the country. And some very few people by

comparison to the one million tourists, you know, point, zero,

zero, something [.00-something] percent, would come on a day tour

of Black River as part of seeing the country and would go on one

of these boat tours, which were increasing exponentially in terms

of... actually in terms of the number of people.

R: Yes.

S: But they were mostly not staying in the area.

R: Right.

S: They were just being brought to these boat tours up the


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river, the wetlands, because the wildlife was extraordinary--the

fauna and the flora--extremely beautiful, extremely beautiful. So

the boat tour owners and the workers connected with that industry

became part of the people to interview. The business people and

shopkeepers and local vendors became part of that. The local

environmental group in the town became a real interesting part.

Some of those were business owners and shopkeepers. But in....

R: Was there an expatriate community?

S: No. Zero.

R: All right.

S: Zero. It was really, you know, all Jamaicans and no

tourists, except for these ones who were bused in for the most

part to see... to take the river tours. And there are some very

beautiful falls there, and they... that would be... you know,

that was another tour or part of the same tour.

R: Yes.

S: Yes. Then... but what was there was Appleton rum. Now,

you've heard of Appleton rum products: they go around the globe,

and they had been in the area for 225 years, massively polluting

the river!

R: Yes.

S: And, of course, when I first got there, I attempted to


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include them as one of the stakeholders, big-time stakeholders,

in the area and went up to the factory and, you know, took the

tour and tried to talk to people, and they wouldn't talk to me.

Nevertheless, I did some scouting around and while I was there,

and we have all kinds of incredible photographs, which I used in

the workshops to prove my point that they were polluting the

wetlands and morass. I mean, I had under, which is the byproduct

of rum production, which was just being excreted from the factory

and just dumped into the wetlands and the waterways and the...

you know. I... my first clue of this was talking to local people,

the fisher folk. And the fishermen would say how at times of the

year, if their skin touched the water--they tried to wash--they

would get these incredible rashes. And then the fish would float

up, and they would have all this dead fish. And it's a very dry

area, except for the waterways, and if you couldn't use the water

to wash with, you couldn't wash it off!

R: Yes.

S: So, I mean, they had some really interesting things to

say, and they attributed it to the factory dumping pollutants.

And so that seemed to be a real important feature.

R: Yes.

S: Well, Appleton, of course, wouldn't talk to me at the


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beginning. And at the final workshop, they sent five people and

were put on the spot, but that's another part of the story. And

then afterwards they were calling me up--could they participate,

da-da, da-da, da. But this was like a year and a half later. But

anyway, so there was the Appleton.

There was a whole series in Jamaica of environmental groups,

from local to national, to the international, the Green Peace

and.... I mean, it's like a big thing.

R: Yes.

S: Many of it... many of the participants are white,

middle-aged women--Jamaicans--and Af... and black, upper-

class.... But all of them are kind of middle- to upper-class,...

R: Yes. Yes.

S: ... black and white professionals. Many of them are

women, not all, and, of course, more men in senior positions than

women. Very standard kind of thing. And people from outside the

country, like the Nature Conservancy, monitoring, you know, the

situation there. And then discussions at the national level. You

know, the women in Kingston... or the groups in Kingston, I

should say, were always rabid environmentalists. I mean, I stayed

at one woman's house, and she had no paper products, for example,

in her kitchen. We always used cloth napkins. She made a very big


Anita Spring 11-75

deal... you know, no plastic silverware.... You know, we had to

go on a picnic; I'm trying to figure out how to do that. No paper

plates, on and on. She had a full-time maid who washed and ironed

and washed the dishes, and, you know, it's just a very strange

contradiction, as far as I was concerned. Trees are renewable

resource; you can plant them... [laughter] you know, if you

really think about. But that idea. And then, of course, they're

trying to decide whether they should protest that ship that

carried plutonium... do you remember that a few years ago?

R: Yes. Yes.

S: ... through the Caribbean.

R: Yes.

S: And, of course, I'm saying, "Let's look at Appleton,

and let's look at what's happening in terms of really polluting

your waterways in your country."

R: Right.

S: You know, so it was... it's sort of difficult. I mean,

they were interested and everything, but they thought Black River

was really far away. And I... it was about four hours from the

capital. And I would, you know, take a plane from Gainesville,

get to Jamaica, rent the car, and drive to my field site. That

took about twelve hours total, even though the flight from Miami

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is an hour and twenty minutes. But getting to Miami from

Gainesville, getting through customs, getting the vehicle,

getting... running to the supermarket to buy some supplies,

because there's almost nothing in Black River, and then driving

out there, four, five hours. And people would just be horrified,

number one, that I was driving by myself or with another person

or that we were driving at night on these windy roads--they're

fairly treacherous, and the number of automobile accidents in

Jamaica... really astounding, and the drivers, it's an island,

are terrible. I mean, you know, island drivers tend to be about

the worst.

R: Yes.

S: Anyway, so they were all horrified that we could

actually handle these kinds of things and that we knew the rural

area so well, and, you know, they call it the "country," you

know, like the countryside. So these were the environmentalists

at the national level. And they were always... they were

difficult... difficult group.

And then the researchers.... University of the West Indies

has one of its three campuses at Mona[?] in Kingston--it's a

suburb. And it's the... you know, the biggest, the oldest, the

lar... you know, the most faculty. It has a combine sociology-


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anthropology department as a for instance. I was linked up to

that. I was linked up to the women's studies program. But getting

the people out to my area... like, the director of women's

studies remarked that she'd once been to Black River. She'd gone

out of the hotel to get something and was so bitten up that she

ran back to her room and has never been there since, and, no, she

would not come. And she was a brilliant person, you know. I would

have loved to have had her participation.

R: Yes. Yes.

S: But that view that that was the hinterland, and the

urbanites, of course, these very sophisticated professionals,

were not going to do that. I don't know how... you know, they had


R: Well, this is a common phenomenon.

S: Very common phenomenon.

R: Yes.

S: So there are those and, of course, international

researchers. A lot of people have worked in Jamaica.

And then the next category of stakeholders had to do with

the politicians.

R: Yes.

S: So there was the local... there were the local


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politicians. So I had to deal, you know, like with the mayor or

the city council... oh, rather, parish council, the parties. The

national governing bodies were important, because there was a

whole ministry of environment and natural resources. And I wanted

to meet with people there, of course. I wanted to meet with the

upper echelon. But when I first got there, who was I? What was

this project? So I had real low-level people who were willing to

talk to me.

R: Right. Right.

S: At the end, the ministers were calling me on the


R: Yes.

S: You know. Can they come to the workshop? Or can they...

you know, it just... it was just really amazing. And then another

one were the... another stakeholder were the bilateral and

multilateral donors, like USAID and the World Bank. And there was

another USAID project there that I think really capitalized on my

findings without giving me credit, called DEMO[?].... I have to

think of what that stands for. But anyway, the woman who was head

of the project kept taking copies of everything I wrote and asked

for a debriefing session at USAID. And I think she just took

everything, because I think they were fairly bankrupt in terms of


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rural data. I really think they were.

R: Yes.

S: So this whole idea of stakeholder analysis.... And then

I realized that because there were... in the local area itself,

there were such diversity, so people who were, for example,

farmers were in a completely different microecology than people

who were involved in fishing. And people who were making charcoal

or crafts were completely different from those other two


R: Yes.

S: And so if you asked one about the other, they had no

idea. It's outside their experience.

R: Right.

S: They neither knew... I mean, they might know these

people as neighbors, because people lived in communities, but it

was a very mixed residential kind of situation. You could have

rich people live next to poor people in terms of housing. You

could have people who were farming next to people who were


R: Well, it's just that... I mean, in Carson City you

could not ask a store person... you would not interview a store

person, in spite of the fact they were in the same economic


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class, about ranching.

S: Exactly. Exactly.

R: Yes.

S: And yet there's this tendency in developing countries

to think that everybody in an area either knows everything or

has... you know, or is, you know, alike.

R: That is true.

S: And so it became very clear to me. The first clue was

this very mixed housing kind of situation. And, I mean, the

photographs are very clear. You can have a beautiful house with a

nice roof, gla... you know, like, it looks like a ranch house in

suburbia. And a gate and the car parked. And next to it is a one-

room, wooden structure with the porch falling off and a big yard

(everything is defined as "yards" in the Caribbean and in

Jamaica), with, you know, an old, abandoned something-or-other

and tires and... and not that there was a vehicle, and a... some

animals grazing there.... I mean, it was just, you know,...

R: Yes.

S: ... night and day. And, in fact, it was really

interesting. I wanted places for my students to stay,'and I

wanted them to stay in the community. So after driving up and

down and knowing the community, I picked out the best houses in


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the community, because I had the idea that as graduate students,

they needed electricity to write up their notes; they needed

running water, because they weren't going to haul water. And

wanted them also to be safe...

R: Yes.

S: ... in the water supply. They needed access to a

telephone in case they needed to call home or had an emergency or

needed to call me. And that they needed... I mean, even though it

would give them a skewed view of the community to live with the

richest.., in the richest household, one of the richer


R: Yes.

End of Tape 11



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