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Observation Project

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Observation Project

Anthropology 1010

Living in Utah and being the age when most believe one should already be married I decided to go to a Singles Ward. A local singles ward located in the Holladay/Cottonwood area was having a ward conference on a Wednesday night, so I took advantage of this opportunity and decided to observe this as ethnographers might. I also decided to arrive early so I could observe the entire event.

Upon arriving early I found quite a few people helping set things up, apparently they were having a small dinner prior to the meeting, so my observations will be from the dinner. The first pattern to emerge was the coordinated efforts of various groups, there were 4 men outside shoveling and salting the walk ways, in the gym there were just over a dozen men and women setting up tables and chairs. In the kitchen there were 3 older men and their wives prepping soup, while the rest continued to set out napkins, cups of water and ice and a food area with salads, dinner rolls and chocolate chip cookies. Each had there own task, slowly young men and women would trickle in and would immediately begin to help in each of the areas according where they felt they were needed as no one was really coordinating. Apparently these conferences and other dinners must function in a similar fashion as those who helped looked as though they had done it before. Most just jumped in and found some way to help. Once everything was prepped most began to conjugate near the stage and engaged in small talk. I heard a small group of young men speaking about work and how busy they've been while the other commented on school. While they were talking and older gentleman walked by looking for his coat, but no one had seen it. One man pointed out the coat closet and that someone may have moved it there. I observed that even among these young people of my similar age less of them were indifferent to this gentleman's search as I would have thought, most but not all made an attempt to help him locate his coat.

As the hour to begin the dinner arrived I noticed that there were allot more seats set out then there were people. A few people joked that there would be plenty of food for those who were there. Soon after this point an older gentleman, apparently the Bishop asked a young man to bless the food. In his prayer he asked that those who could not make it be watched over, and that those back east who had just suffered at the hands of some many tornado's be taken care of. I was impressed by this mans prayer which helped me realize that for most societies here in the U.S. we manage to stand together when tragedies strike.

With the food blessed it took a few minutes

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