Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What does the goat say?

I am currently in India with new partners of my organization from Peru, Indonesia and the Philippines to show them how our programs operate. Today, we visited branch offices and borrowers who take loans for toilets, small businesses, water connections, education, health and other things through a joint-liability group structure. This means that the group members guarantee payment for each other in the instance where they cannot pay for some reason. These visits can sometimes be a challenge because they are conducted in two or three languages (depending on the local dialect).

At one point, I was asking the women what they did for work now that they were able to do so. Many of them were not able to work before they had a toilet or a water connection as they were spending large amounts of time walking and waiting for water. They were telling us about all of the different things they did -- tailoring, working in a factory, running a small shop -- and one of them mentioned that she had bought a goat to raise. Now, you may not know this about me, but I do a pretty high quality goat impression. So, I went ahead and tried it out. It was a big hit and they asked for it more than once. This small and awkward exchange allowed us to laugh together and become part of the same conversation after all.

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