The people's reporters and their community activism
Another intensive fieldwork out in the northwest of Kyrgyzstan mapping the communicative ecology of remoteness. The trip gifted us once again with grant vistas but also a much-needed inspiration. While our research started with the community radios in this part of the country, we very quickly came to realize that there is more to Talas and Sussamyr than their radio.
Behind the “people’s reporters” that report to Radio Most from their communities are a group of mighty and feisty activist women who are not shying away from calling themselves activists. Perhaps Talas breeds activists, they have the reputation of starting the revolutions in this country, but for a few days, we were inspired by talking to these women who are committed to bringing change to their communities by reporting on their needs and holding accountable the local authorities. One of them, a retired teacher and bean farmer who was bride kidnapped, comes with the name of “here comes the radio woman” and believe me she is a force to reckon with. Another comes with the name of a local male hero, saying that she fights like a man, to which I said after hearing all her achievements that she fights rather like a woman!
This fieldwork did come just as I was wondering about my academic management job, up on high mountains when I would rather be in my natural island environment doing ethnographic research. My encounters with these awesome women and the one young man energized me, I would rather spend my time listening to them and sharing their stories! And stocking up in homemade marmalade and other preserves! (You never leave empty-handed!)