Anthropology proves to be satisfying and
intellectually fulfilling to many in the field.

However, there are also many challenges and bumps in
the road along the way. Napolean A. Chagnon and
Claire Sterk faced many of these challenges

During his fieldwork with the Yanomamo, Chagnon faced
many challenges interacting with the natives. Chagnon
could not practically communicate with the people
until about six months after he arrived. He notes ?
the hardest thing to live with was the incessant,
passioned, and often aggressive demands they would
make.? An example of this is the natives threatening
with a shout such as; ?If you don?t take me with you
on your next boat trip to Widokalyateri, I?ll chop a
hole in your canoe!? While trying to collect
genealogies, Chagnon found it very frustrating and
commented ? I could not have deliberately picked a
more difficult people to work with in this regard.?
This was because he first tried to use the names they
called each other, not knowing that the names they
called each other were completely ambiguous and didn?t
mean anything. He then later found out , after
collecting all the genealogical information, that only
the living members were accurate and the deceased
listed were mostly fake. He had to start all over. (
Chagnon 5)
Sterk did a different type of study on prostitution
and how it went on during a time when AIDS was a major
problem. This type of fieldwork is ethnographic
fieldwork. Sterk had to get established in rough
neighborhoods, crack houses, and sidewalks of busy
streets. She first and foremost had to locate her
samples by asking local taxi-drivers, bartenders , and
AIDS clinics. Developing a relationship and trust
with women who had never had any trustworthy people in
their lives was quite challenging as well. Sterk was
once followed home by one of the woman?s pimps and his
friends, and was jumped. The woman admitted to Sterk
over a year later that they wanted to teach her a
lesson and she knew about it all along. Sterk
describes ? At one time, I felt true hatred for a
crack house owner and was unable to adhere to the
rules of courteous interactions.? ( Sterk 10)
In Gmelch?s work with ethnography, he took students
to do fieldwork in Barbados. He says his students
usually come out of the experience learning more about
themselves than they did about the people they were
supposed to be studying. The students learned more
than they ever had about intimacy in relationships
than they ever had in their culture. They compared it
to the impersonality and detachment of their suburban
lives. One of the biggest adjustments the students
had to make was adjusting to the slow-pace of village
life. Many got used to being entertained just by
socializing with the people and had no desire to leave
if given a chance. Materialism diminished as the
students began to feel embarrassed that they have so
much. The people in the villages had so little and
were seemingly so much happier than Americans. The
students became minorities for their stay in the
villages. One student says ? I have never been in a
situation before where I was a minority purely due to
the color of my skin, and treated differently because
of it.? The students also noted that they became less
eager to defend their own society, as they were
becoming more aware of other cultures.

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Through all the trials and challenges, I believe
ethnography has helped not only the person engaging in
the process, but everyone who has the opportunity see results.