Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Development Reminders

Although I have lived in Latin America before, I am reminded daily of the joys and challenges that come up on a constant basis with "development work." My coworker, Vanessa, went out to do a village bank presentation to a community out in the country side. The joys: seeing a cohesive group of women chatting, laughing, asking questions, and finally seeing their eyes light up at the possibility of saving some money (something they haven't done before). On top of that, they were excited about the opportunity to learn to read and write. What more could you ask for at a initial presentation?

The challenges: Upon visiting a village bank group meeting, I found it hard to discuss with the women what is it that would help you be the mother and business woman you want to be? This group is very reserved, content to listen and knit. I think the women were skeptical of what I am doing here in Peru; How on earth can I help them? They opened up a little bit towards the end of the meeting, but it took some jokes, and many questions. I am here for all the village bank women, but I begin to wonder if only some of the women and groups will approach me and seek out support, and above all follow through with their request and our work together. If I only work intensely with few women will that be enough? That is something that I am exploring and asking myself. No answers yet.

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