Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Act of Observing

This morning we went to a Center Meeting in a nearby village. The objective of this visit was to observe, so we tried our best to be unobtrusive, and let the meeting proceed as normal, but our presence was hard to ignore. After the meeting we went to interview a few borrowers, but their answers to our questions were particularly modest and reserved. When asking one woman how her life had changed after joining Grameen, we received the answer, “It got better.” When further probing did not arouse more detail, a neighbor of hers shouted, “Your home was destroyed by a flood, you had nothing when you came here, now you have land, a business and a new house!”Stories like this are common, and it’s a shame it’s sometimes so difficult to get the women to tell them. We are intimidating, I suppose.

After visiting a borrower’s betel-leaf business, we walked to the nearby village marketplace where we found a few borrowers’ husbands to speak with. As we were now in public view, a large crowd gathered around us – 20-30 men – just to watch, and state. I still don’t understand the entertainment value of staring at someone for ten minutes, but I guess there is not a lot else going on out here.

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