The 2015 fieldwork basically provided me with the chance to get beyond sitting behind the table and researching online about what others say people in Afghanistan think about women’s education and employment opportunities, and rather search and explore the perceptions for myself by directly facing people. The fieldwork helped me gain a deeper understanding of not only what people think, but also what drives their way of thinking.
Before getting started with the task, I was expecting a lot of harsh reactions especially in regard to particular questions. After conducting a few surveys, however, I started getting comfortable perhaps because somewhere I felt that there was a common sense of vulnerability that we all shared, and only then I realized that there had always been a part of me with a strong and deep feeling of nostalgia for my country and people. This helped me feel a lot easier and more relaxed while conducting the surveys. In the process of performing the task, I also somewhere discovered my passion for tasks that require direct involvement with people because there is a lot to learn from each individual’s stories.
The most important skills that I built throughout the fieldwork included being able to make sudden decisions, learning the art of putting questions as simply and easily understandable as possible, and learning to behave in a culturally appropriate but at the same time skillful manner. The fieldwork importantly enabled me to step out of my comfort zone and approach people in highly male-dominated and supposedly conservative areas that I wouldn’t think of crossing had it not been part of the task. The level of confidence that I built, as a result, was surprisingly high and totally worth it.