The work I had planned to do in three months time is already finished in two months time. When I noticed that this would happen a few weeks ago, I decided to expand my research geographically. This, though, was easier said than done. This week I will go to Ribnica to conduct research there, but I still do not have contacts in Trebnje, the other village I had planned to go.
So, now I have found myself to be at the point where every researcher finds him- or herself at least once during fieldwork; namely the point where you feel that your research is stuck.
When reflecting on my research of the past two months, I am very satisfied. During the preparation period prior to my fieldwork I thought that only the Roma people themselves could be included in my research, due to lack of time and finances. Fortunately, though, I was able to also include people working with municipalities, NGOs and police. The main focus is still on the stories of the Roma living in Dolenjska, but I got a more complete overview of the historical and current situation of the Roma living in this area due to the variation of persons I spoke with.
Several people told me that one of the mayor problems is the lack of communication between Slovenes and Roma. I think they were right. But in order to solve this problem, people should first be willing to talk ánd listen to each other. During my fieldwork I found almost every Roma person I encountered to be willing to talk with me. Mostly, they were amazed by the fact that someone actually came to their settlements and asked them what their lives look like. Some, though, were shy and wanted to refer me to other persons in their settlements, having a higher position. Mostly, I could eventually convince them that it is not just the opinions of the persons in charge that matter to me, but also the ‘regular’ people. Communication is certainly a starting point for solving the current problems, but it should go hand in hand with actions or it is worth nothing.
So, looking back, I am quite satisfied with the results of my research thus far. Looking forward, though, I am not sure what the next three weeks are gonna look like, but I am working on it. I am definitely not fed up yet with hearing these peoples’ stories.