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The land I want is the land you want - to give up.

As it was customary, the women – about ten of us and more joining the “meeting” each passing minute – were sitting cross-legged on the floor of the tiny, two-room home, while the four men sat on the only bed. While the Indian monsoon made its presence felt outside, we talked about a program (in which the attendees participate), that enhances the productivity of small family-run farms in rural Maharashtra, through technical assistance and training in agricultural techniques.

The usual conversation took place – When did you start farming? Has the program helped you? Have you seen a difference in your crops? And then I asked, “If money weren’t an issue, would you continue farming?” The women looked at each other as if to say, Is she for real? and said, “No, we do this because it’s the only thing we can do.”

As the gathering ended and we slowly stepped outside to tour the wormy-compost bins, the cattle pens, and the rabbit cages, a sense of camaraderie overcame me. If empowerment is about having a choice, then neither that woman nor I are any closer to it – she toils in her farm dreaming of a “better” future, while propped against my desk, I dream about tomatoes, and dirt, and sheep.

If we could relate about nothing else, we could relate about this: our disenchantment about our own lives in relation to land. In a way, land brought us together – her dislike of, and my want for it.

Comments

sunita.basnet's picture

Different perspective towards Land

Hello Viochan,
I like your feeling of land, "our disenchantment about our own lives in relation to land. In a way, land brought us together – her dislike of, and my want for it." And ofcourse I do agree with you that some people like their land and other dislike. Thanks for sharing with us.

With Love and Regards
Sunita Basnet

jap21's picture

Hola Viochan

Yo vivo en Tarija, ciudad cercana a la frontera entre Paraguay y Bolivia. Tus palabras para mí son poderosas, porque yo también me siento así algunas veces. Lo que queda es seguir haciendo el trabajo. Seguir en la linea del amor a la tierra y a nosotras mismas, es lo correcto.

Gracias por venir a esta comunidad, ojalá te quedes y podamos compartir mucho más, y por un largo tiempo. Necesitamos voces de mujeres como tú.

Con amor,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

JaniceW's picture

Disenchantment

How powerful it is to hear you speak of choice and how neither of you are any closer to empowerment. It must be frustrating for you to see the progress of the program yet know that the only reason the women toil the fields is because they have no other options. I hope that you will share more stories of Paraguay with us as we hear little from this region of the challenges, concerns and issues that women face every day. Welcome to PulseWire and I look forward to reading more from you.

viochan's picture

RE: Disenchantment

Thanks, Janice. I am going to Paraguay in January and will certainly bring back many more "stories" to tell - hopefully, they will be empowering and enlightening, stories about courage and beauty and peace. However, as we well know, stories about despair and disenfranchisement also abound, but perhaps those are the ones we need to hear most often to remind us of the work still left to do.
Cheers!

Violeta

sosena's picture

Dear viochan , What an

Dear viochan ,
What an inspirational story. You know poverty has two faces.Once in the field work we have been asking the women if you given an opportunity would you like to be woman or man all of them said at diffrent occasion, place and time they prefered to be man. Than tells you much about gender inequality in that part of the country and I guess in most part of the world.Thank you for sharing the story,
Sosena

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