Océane Frey, Master student Moquas – Markets, Organizations, Quality, Services in Southern Farms – at IRC Montpellier SupAgro :
“On my side, one of the challenges of this professional experience was linguistic because in Kenya, people speak English. The working pair has proved to be an excellent springboard to facilitate my learning and further training in this language. Judith was very patient and understanding as soon as I arrived, her attention was decisive for me to feel quickly at ease in English, and on the work team. This diversity has also been a richness in the work, the pair has strengthened our respective skills in the study service by sharing our knowledge, our work references or understanding the realities on the ground. These stages of work have not always been easy because we have each had to adapt to the other and to the context, to understand each other, to adopt new working methods and to explain clearly and simply the choice, the usefulness, the relevance and the use of tools that the other did not master. In the field, Judith had to don two hats because in addition to conducting the study, she provided translation Kiswahili-English, a tedious job she managed to lead with tact, adapting to each situation! Teamwork allowed us to prepare more quickly for certain unexpected work situations or debriefing “hot” after an appointment and so “to ripen” an idea, an observation effectively. The supervision of Fert and CGA also allowed two perspectives on the work and a follow-up adapted on two levels. CGA’s advice made wise decisions throughout the study, while Fert gave us a more “outside” look, which was critical to strengthening our results and analysis while taking a step back from the work we did. Working in pairs also helped to manage the workload throughout the study with motivation and good humor in our case.
Beyond the professional, Judith was my roommate and especially a great friend. Our good agreement facilitated the general progress of the study. Our curiosity for each other’s culture was helpful at work but also allowed us to share some wonderful moments! Judith has fully participated in my cultural integration. Learning Kiswahili for me and French for her helped to connect with the whole team. Our discussions and exchanges allowed me to identify and understand codes, to respect at work for example, that it concerns a way to greet or to address to a person or the dress codes. She also wanted to share her culture and those of her country by explaining to me culinary habits and customs, clothing of different ethnicities of Kenya or sharing family events and so on. All of these factors are essential for understanding the study area, ensuring a good integration and spending unforgettable moments. Thank you Judith!”