So I know it has been ages since I’ve written a new post, but I’m back, this time to ask for a little bit of support. As many of you know, I’m working on my MA in Foreign Languages, Literatures & Cultures, focusing on Spanish. I’ve also been taking some amazing anthropology classes where I am learning soooo much about ethnography writing. Believe it or not, this last semester I’ve been doing something I never thought I’d do for a class…play an MMOG (massive, multiplayer online game). Yep. It’s called Guild Wars 2, and I’m actually enjoying it! The goal of the class is to learn how to take field notes, partake in participant observation, interview and ultimately write an ethnography. I have learned SO much!!
It’s a good thing that I’ve been learning so much, because all these valuable skills that I’ve been gaining I will have the opportunity to put into real-life action this coming January. It has always been my dream to travel to Cuba. During an Ethnopsychiatry and Spiritual Healing course I took at CSU, I began to learn more about different cultural ways of healing and, combined with my interest in Cuba and Spanish, I began investigating Santeria. It is a syncretic religion that was formed by the merging of Regla de Ocha, a religion brought to Cuba from Africa during the slave trade, and Catholicism. The topic of my master’s thesis is Santeria as an ethnopsychiatry, and after lots of back and forth I recently received permission from the U.S. government to travel to Cuba under an educational license. (Woop woop!!!) I really can hardly believe it….it’s actually happening!! While in Cuba I will be staying with an older, local woman who is a friend of my professor. She will be helping me to find contacts to interview about their personal experiences with Santeria. This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity. With locals personal narratives I will weave together the story of Santeria as a way of healing, told from the Cuban perspective.
Travel to Cuba, even though it is only 90 miles off the coast of Florida, is quite expensive. For that reason I have created a gofundme account and am asking for financial support. I estimate the trip total to be around $2,600, which I unfortunately cannot afford on my own. If you are able, or know anyone that might be interested in supporting my research, please check out my account at http://www.gofundme.com/rileygoestocuba
Thank you so much and I’ll definitely keep you all posted on my travels!!!