‘Maa we had our lunch at Aanganwadi and night stays at Gram Panchayats’, I cried with overjoy when I shared my experience of new group formation in an unknown village to my mother.
I have been to villages before but never had ever the Gram Panchayats or Aanganwadis had caught my attention. They were always a government run institution for me. It never occurred to my mind to think about them forget to step inside them. But, on the process of new group formation we had no option but to stay at Gram Panchayat which had no fan during April heat and were given only floor carpet to sleep at! We had our lunches at Aaganwadi that to thanks to the absent students because twice we invited ourselves for the lunch there as it was no place in the village where we could dine!
It has not been safe but we seven women were more afraid of the bathroom facility which was no where in the panchayat office. But, we were able to make arrangements at the local PHC washroom. The things were a little tough but what i realize was our determination to form the SHGs was tougher! These issues proved to be pretty little things at the end. We had no transport facility too and we walked sometimes 2-3-4 km to cover as many villages as we can in our duration of 4 days with no food and intense sunshine. Nothing was stopping us, in the evenings we use complain about our tired bodies but it never overpowered our discussion about the learning and experiences throughout the day followed by our next day strategy!
All the Tais (expert team from Maharashtra) made our experiences more resourceful by their expertise and there never give up attitudes. At times we were ridiculed about our way of working, especially by the males in the community. We never came to a situation where we spoke in such a condition, the women in the village themselves shut them down. It showed our work and the confidence that we were able to build in the women.
The community will be your savior if you will devote yourself selflessly and adamantly towards your goal.