Jay Wood: First Week in Tunis

Sidi Bou Said, A hillside neighborhood in Tunis with a rich artistic history

My research in Tunis has taken many new shapes in my first week here. Two of my Interviewees have postponed their interviews until later in the summer, and many others I have reached out to have not gotten back to me. However, it has given me an opportunity to get a lot of B-roll footage of various locations in Tunis that are relevant to the documentary. One highlight so far has been getting onto a train packed with soccer fans returning from a winning game. The people on the packed train sang together for almost 30 minutes until arriving at the main train station in Tunis, where the train station exploded with the chants and clapping of hundreds of Tunisian young men. I now have tickets for a game next week.

Tunisians at a train station celebrating a win for their local soccer team

In my free time, I have been going to the beach and enjoying the Mediterranean weather, as well as frequenting a cafe where I have met many young activists and University students, some of whom I will be interviewing for my documentary. One night while ordering a Tunisian-style pizza at a late-night cafe, one of the workers overheard my American accent and told me that he teaches English in his free time to young children. Random interactions such as these are playing a larger role in my interviews than I would have imagined going into my research, but it has been a welcome surprise. It has led to natural, authentic, and spontaneous conversations that have given me a new understanding of the outlook of Tunisian young people.