When we arrived in Indonesia professor Stein had a conversation with us where we talked about our theme; Human capital development.
We had interpreters who followed us in interviews, open conversations and observation in home stays to understand and get to know the human capital development in Indonesia. We also had some lectures in different Universities to get a wider understanding of the topic.
Different interpreters followed us during our entire trip to help us through the language conflicts. In Lombok our interpreters was young Indonesian students of both genders. When we were located in home stays in Flores our interpreters were men with different occupations, such as students, and entrepreneurs, and on our home stay in Java we had male and female students from Gadjah Mada University. This is important to acknowledge as some cultural settings can make it hard for young women to communicate well with elderly males in powerful positions even though we did not experience a lot of this during our stay.
In both our home stays the interpreters stayed together with us, and that made us feel that they where dedicated to their work. In Indonesia they have lots of different languages, but usually it was enough with Bahasa Indonesia to do an interview. However some of the elderly only talked their local language, something that made some of the answers blurry.
In Lombok we had some open interviews where each group figured out which questions they needed answers on before their visits in health care, school system, and business’. Each group had its own driver and interpreter and travelled around to different arrangements made by Professor Stein. We had the freedom to make some changes on our interview subjects, but it was a nice start to our studies when everything was arranged for us. Before departure to Flores we gathered together and sorted out which questions that worked for us, and how we could formulate them in the best possible way, before we made an interview guide we brought with us to Flores.
In Flores we had home stays and the opportunity to have less formal conversations besides the interviews, and got a wider understanding of the subjects with the more honest answers the conversations gave us. We also got a better impression on our topics when we had the opportunity to stay over time and make some observations.
In Java we brought with us the knowledge from the gathering of information from Lombok and Flores, and sorted out which procedure which worked in the most efficient way before we went out on our last home stay.
We also attended different lectures at Gadjah Mada University, Mataram University, Ruteng and St. Paul Major Seminary Ledalero, which all gave us additional information about human capital development.
We tried to do data triangulation where we for example talked to both teachers, students and parents when it came to education. It was very important for us to make sure that the information we got was correct, but it was hard since an audience was often accompanying our interviews. We have a feeling that most of the time we had uninvited persons under our interviews with the intention to make sure no one slipped and gave us inappropriate answers.
Some of our questions didn’t fit well in the Indonesian society and culture, such as questions about sex education in school and corruption. We have an impression that the answers to these sensitive topics where based on what would be the correct answer, and not the facts.
Sometimes we showed up unannounced visits to get interviews, but mainly we got a nice welcome, and the locals helped us in their best way.
We also experienced that the elderly often used long time to answer even the most basic and easiest questions, and they often gave a lot of background information to their answers, so some of the information got lost in translation since the interpreters wanted to keep focus on what we wanted to know. The interpreters reminded us that the elderly "talk too much" in order to sound wise and experienced, but it just ended up with us forgetting what we asked about.