Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day One in Durgapur

I want to write you something great about how beautiful, yet dirty, and how inspiring, yet sad the villages in Bangladesh are… but I’m so damn hot. I’m sweating buckets. I’m paranoid about my growing collection of mosquito bites. And I’m sitting here, writing this in the dark, because the power is out – as is the case more often than not out here. But that stuff aside, I am so damn glad to be here.

Each encounter is an eye-opening experience. And one cannot truly understand Grameen Bank, microfinance, or the true meaning of poverty without actually seeing it firsthand. Grameen Bank is not an office building in Dhaka - it is in the home of the destitute borrower. As the Zonal Manager explained to us today, the real feat of Grameen is motivation: convincing poor women that with just a bit of access to financial resources, they have the means, and ability to help themselves, and earn a better life for their families. It is teaching them that poverty is not inherited or genetic, it is just the result of their surroundings and a lack of opportunity. So learning and observing that motivation process should be a principal goal of any study of Grameen.

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