Today, at one of my fieldsites, the director of the program corrected my identifying a condom as shaped like a penis. Apparently it is not shaped like a penis. It is shaped like a square-folded up package.
This is the sort of miscommunication that is happening regularly. I am trying not to find it frustrating.
I should add that this anecdote is meant to show the inevitable miscommunications in my own country. I really want to be conscientious about not denigrating the people I work with, even as I disagree with their perspectives, at times. I have yet to be a truly objective observer, and I struggle with the experience of a researcher. It's an odd phenomenon to be one's research instrument, even as one is also a person with her own foibles and imperfections. I envy researchers with laboratories, with mechanical instruments that while fallible are still not attached or permanently part of the researcher. The mis-readings, then, can be attributed to the object. Occasionally to the researcher, him or herself, but at least there's some sort of displacement.