The Chicken or the Egg?
Story from Sunsari under Peacebuilding
She took my hand in her thin, wrinkled one, pointing to my silver rings. Before we began our discussion with this small group of women, she made it clear that she expected a roof, a toilet, and possibly some cash. Unfortunately, this is not what we came bearing!
We brought these flood -affected villages something less tangible - help to regain peace of mind, and skills to work effectively toward common community goals. Together with Partner Mobilisation Centre (PMC), we hoped to reach out to six different villages in Sunsari in five days. We introduced simple exercises to help villagers deal with their unresolved trauma from the flooding that displaced them two years ago. And we introduced a participatory meeting process to help them make decisions that will benefit the whole community.
We asked difficult questions, like: "Why aren't you cooperating to use the stretcher UMN provided to get sick people to the hospital?" Besides the material difficulties, we explored the anxiety, discord and mistrust that were making it hard for these villagers to secure their basic needs.
That way, there could be chickens and eggs, and perhaps roofs and toilets as well!