This past year, cultural anthropology doctoral candidate Mac Archer has been busy conducting research alongside the Haitian social welfare department, IBESR, and the child protection organization, LFBS.
Mac’s research focuses on the importance of emotional labor in orphanages where destitute children are cared for by nannies drawn from poor communities, sometimes the very communities that these children hail from. In her research Mac centers the complicated racial, class, and gender dynamics at play within Haiti’s orphanage system, where the major players running orphanages tend to be US-based, faith-based organizations.
“Over the past year I have connected with some amazing people, heard both heartbreaking and inspiring testimonies from various members of these organizations,” Mac said.
She has also worked as a monitoring and evaluation specialist for the Kellogg Foundation-funded organization, Hope for Haiti, conducting research in schools located in remote areas of the island. With a research regimen that can be physically and emotionally daunting, Mac has found her expertise as a yoga teacher helpful as an avenue to help recuperate while also serving the small expatriate community in Les Cayes.
“I have also been grateful to teach yoga twice a week to a community of expats in Les Cayes since March,” she said. “This past year has been a wonderful experience and adventure.”
Ethnographic fieldwork can be immensely challenging, but nevertheless rewarding academically and as a life-experience.