Postcards from the Edge

of Bangladesh

The drugs DO work

Feel better already.

Even though I did have a little kip after having my lunch today. For clarification, I slept in my house, not at my desk. My house is 10 meters from my office, very conveniently placed for arvie power naps.

The need for the nap I blame on a rather hectic day yesterday travelling around with the group of Welsh people, to a neighbouring village to see weaving and chicken rearing start up programmes. Followed by a meet and greet with some Australians from ILO (the UN agency, International Labour Organisation)

It is always interesting having foreigners here, and hearing the stream of suggestions from them. The more time I spend here, the more I really buy into the whole VSO philosophy of living with and within a community, to fully understand the issues and challenges faced on a daily basis. While a western mind might make suggestions/come up with ideas that would work wonderfully elsewhere, it’s very difficult for outsiders to fully understand the impact that the harsh reality will have on such plans and ideas. And in my mind, it’s about enabling the local community to come up with their own ideas and suggestions, as I feel that dictating the course of action can undermine local confidence in their own ability. And it might make them more reliant on foreign ‘experts’ to solve their issues, when the ability to solve local issues actually lives (latently perhaps) within them all. Local solutions for local problems, and all that jazz.

Not that the work foreigners/outsiders do here is not amazing and very much valued and welcomed by all. There are different schools of thought on development, and different ways to do things and to get stuff done. And different problems certainly have different solutions.

But ultimately communities should become empowered enough to reduce their dependance on outside help. This is however a muuuuch slower process than dictating and taking control, is far more frustrating, and quite often the benefits of our efforts might not be seen during our time here. There isn’t a direct or tangible link between effort and reward. But it’s like a seed that is planted, and over time and with continued care, it will put down roots and grow, and outlast anything else.

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