Scene 8: Monday’s Meeting with Co-Researchers

04 November 2013


Our Monday meeting was marked by two distinct parts. The first of which is described in the previous scene included our advisors, Jude, and Ronell. The second part was meant for us to talk with our co-researchers and mutually agree upon expectations we have for each other and encourage communication in an effort to smooth out some issues we had been having. The night before this meeting we reached out to one of our co-researchers to let her know that our meeting time would be pushed back half an hour. She responded by expressing concern about receiving a stipend, as she reminded us that they have families to provide for. Therefore, if we were not able to provide a stipend for the time and effort they put into the project, they might be interested in a job that does provide a regular salary. In fact, they had not been paid for their work thus far, as Ronell wanted to hold off to see which of the co-researchers would be truly invested in the project. After talking with Shannon, we realized that Monday’s meeting would be the perfect time to discuss the stipend with them to relieve some of their concerns.

Act1 Scene 8

Cast of Characters:

MGV Park Team: Lucine, Tyler, Katherine, Zack

Co-researchers: Shannon, Zoe, Zelreese, Shaniece, and Linton

Advisors: Scott and Lorraine

Community Members: Ronell


Setting: Community Center in Maitland Garden Village



From the beginning of our preparation term we understood that our co-researchers would need to play a major part in our project if any work were to continue once we left. When the time came to start our meeting, the general feel in the room changed. Our co-researchers were not present in the meeting in which we planned discuss the notion of paying them a stipend for working on the project. We carried on through our meeting without them, discussing with Jude the role the Parks Department would play in the project and what we can do before our departure in December. Ronell called Linton to ensure that the plans had been clear and to see if they had the intention of coming. He said that they did and he went to gather the others. They arrived shortly after, looking hesitant as they entered the room. By this time Jude had left and our only remaining agenda item was to solidify co-researcher expectations.

Scott and Lorraine made an attempt to engage them in conversation, elicit responses from them, and make them feel at ease, but had very little success. We could make the analogy of pulling teeth, but that would not be accurate. The teeth never came out, as there was never a flow of discussion. We could hear the small children playing in the yard of the community center and the small chatter of two women watching over them. We sat there glancing at one another, none of us knowing what to say to help facilitate conversation.

In the hope of reaching a higher level of discussion our advisors left, along with Ronell, who had another meeting to attend. We thought being alone with the group would help them open up and be more willing to put forward their ideas, but we were wrong. Instead we continued to sit in silence, looking at one another and waiting for someone to say anything. Again, we did not know what to say. We asked them about what they hoped to get out of this project and for ideas for things to accomplish before the end of this project term. We were unsuccessful in cooperatively generating any ideas together. By this time we had nearly given up on trying to get anywhere. We have spent weeks or research and preparation in the hope of helping a community help itself, but the redevelopment process is not moving at the pace we need it to. The meeting concluded with the promise of another the following day. They agreed to come fresh and ready to continue onward, first establishing the ground rules and expectations that we were unable to get on paper today.



When thinking back to our work during our prep term and the thoughts we had about this project, we did not think working with our co-researchers would turn out to be one of the more difficult aspects of the project. The impression we were given by Ronell, who worked to find volunteers to be our co-researchers, was that there would be a group of eager youth who wished to make a positive impact on their community. The lack of responsiveness from the group of co-researchers may have given some insight into their lives, although we may not have realized it at the time. The reasons why they arrived late to meetings and why we sat in silence for quite some time may go beyond our understanding. When we have team meeting between the four of us, we expect everyone to be on time and attentive, assuming that there is no emergency or something more important having come up. We do not know what could have been going on that day of our meeting with the co-researchers. Perhaps one of their children was sick. Maybe they were called into work. Or perhaps they felt uncomfortable with us coming into their village. We do not think we have developed the relationship in which we are in the place to ask what may be preventing them from sharing their ideas. However, we hope to continue to work with them because we know that we have a lot to learn from them about South African culture and Maitland Garden Village.