Today was tailor day, and we thought nothing could go wrong. Tailor day was the day we were supposed to go back to the tailor and pick up our finished garments. “Tailor Day! Tailor Day!” we chanted on the way to our first interview of the day.
Our driver slowly navigated the narrow dirt roads, and even did some crazy off roading in order to go under a bridge that a train would soon cross, blocking our way. We went to one woman’s house, and then our survivor came and brought us to her house. Her family gathered on rugs on the floor and we sat on cots. Her story was sad as all the others, but had its own interesting intricacies that highlighted issues we hadn’t hear of yet. Its very complicated to get away from violence here. This survivor was lucky because her aunt was a paralegal. This helped her to leave her husband earlier than she may have. Her divorce had been going on for years. When asked what she hopes for, she told us that she just wants to be divorced quickly so that she can get married again. Unlike many of the other woman, she hadn’t lost faith in the institution of marriage. She clearly felt that she had been cheated not only out of a good marriage, but out of her role as an Indian wife. We thanked her profusely and left her house only to find that Bilal, our driver, was changing a flat tire.
We added a little brevity to the day when we told our driver Bilal what his shirt said in English . It was two hands holding up a sign that read: will work for sex. When we found out that he didn’t know what it meant, we couldn’t wait until our interpreters were willing to explain it. When we arrived back at the palace they told him. His face broke into an embarrassed smile, and he quickly headed home to change it before we headed out to the public schools.
In the afternoon we had two more schools to visit where Dr. Greaves would present his research and then we would meet with women to ask them about domestic violence. It was our first time visiting a government, or public school. They were both very different from the private school we visited. There were no uniforms and the buildings was simple. There were no books with photos of dancing and smashing fluorescents, but there was a group of concerned parents who had come to listen to Dr. Greaves’ findings.
The first school was in Dhrangadhra and he told the parents that he had found that many of their children were too small and didn’t weigh enough. They didn’t have much of a response, so Dr. Greaves left and we started an ill-fated focus group. It was too many women, and Jayshree had to spend a long time explaining the concepts of domestic violence. We learned a lot about what not to do in a focus group.
The second school was in a village, and we sat on the floor while the principal took advantage of this rare gathering of parents. He spoke and he spoke, and he spoke some more. Eventually Dr. Greaves presented the same findings, and then the principal again delivered a long sling of public service announcements about the need to educate girls, available scholarships, etc. Jayshree eventually lost it and had to cover her face in her scarf to hid her giggles. Eventually the men were asked to leave, and we gathered the women in a circle on the floor. It may have gone a bit better than the last, but it still ended on a negative note. One woman at the end angry explained, “People keep coming and asking us what we need, and then nothing ever changes.” There was a lot of discussion later about responsible global health and the way we should be conducting research. As usual we went into the situation with very little understanding of what was going on and felt frustrated by our lack of control.
water and plate storage
|Woman's leg at school|
We were a bit deflated by the time we headed to the tailor. When we got there we checked out my dress and did not like the way he had done the pleating. Way too 80’s. There was much fuss over tyring to explain the cor1rect way to do it. There is still hope! But we shall have to wait until Sunday at 4 to find out what happens!