We went back to Mandi and we had to form groups of 3 of 4 people.
Nick was the wise choice. He’s laid-back and only talks to share his (hilarious) pearls of wisdom. He’s either Malaysian or Chinese, it really depends on the circumstances. He goes for which ever favors him.
Talal and Meead were the combo breaker. According to Talal, they both bring life and humor to the group. Actually, they fight like an old married couple and the villagers love to watch them. They tease each other in Arabic and then ask our guides to either translate or to repeat after them.
On that day, I was reminded that the “little” people are capable of having a great influence on their society:
A woman from Mandi used to go door to door, in an attempt to empower her village’s women. They’re all housewives, housekeepers, caretakers. She wanted to strengthen their gender role – it took her a while, but she succeeded. At first, the women ignored her invitations and the husbands weren’t supportive. Now, the men are the ones encouraging their wives to join the self help group that was founded for Mandi women. With a special emphasis on bookkeeping and savings, the women became much more resourceful and they actively took part in their family’s decision making.
Investments. Loans. Profits. It was all possible.
And it all started with one woman.
We were leaving the village:
“Do you want to go up the tower?”
Less than minutes ago, I was a couple of stairs away from the water tank. I looked down.
Rice fields. Lakes. Mandi. Motorbikes. A buffalo. Some students looking up.