Friday, July 6, 2012

Life in a fishing village know how I've been saying this experience has been an eye opener for me? Well, multiply that by 10 and that's how I felt today. Our industry visit today was with a company called Quipper Research (check them out). A qualitative research company focused on breaking down cultural barriers to obtain more authentic results. An increase in the number of companies trying to take their business to the global level has consequently led to an increase in the number of companies engaging in western research methodologies.  Note - these western research methods are being applied in eastern countries which operate completely differently.  No two countries are the same.  This is especially evident in a country like India.  To make a long story short, Quipper Research has developed a qualitative research method that uses technology to break through the trepidation respondents may feel when being interviewed by a large team. Their approach focuses on the family and allows them to film their own family members in hopes of gaining a truer understanding of how they actually live, work, play, what products they use, how they use them, etc. It's difficult to describe, but you should check it out....very cool company.

As part of their presentation, they took us into one of the local fishing villages that is right up the street from where we are staying. It's not considered a slum, but if I am being completely honest it appeared that way at first glance. We broke up into two groups and were each invited into a family's home. The home I went into was no more than 20 square feet. [The room that you are reading this from is probably 2-3 times bigger than this family's entire house.]  Want to know how many familiy members lived in there? SEVEN. Three on the bed, four on the tile floor. Houses have no running water. The municipality comes each evening at 7:30 and turns on the water for no more than 2 hours. Every single family living on that lane has close to one hour to gather all of their buckets and storage devices and fill them up for the next 24 hours. 

As you can see, their lives would not be considered ideal, but like everyone here, they make the most of it and are just as friendly, if not more, than a substantial number of people I have encountered in the US over the years. There was a young boy and girl in the home we visited, both of whom go to English teaching schools so we were able to talk to them and ask them a few questions. The girl was studying computer science and the boy was in his first year of what they call high school. The boy went to school during the day, played soccer for an hour, and then went back to tutoring for another couple of hours. The mom was describing how she was unhappy with their life and how important education was for her children, which is why she was willing to pay extra for the tutoring. The whole family was SO nice. They are not living in ideal conditions, but they make it work, and it is home to them. They had smiles on their faces, took pictures with us, took pictures of us, and I even got a new Facebook friend out of it! The entire fishing village welcomed us and greeted us so was heartwarming. 

One of the books we read prior to this trip dealt with ethnographic studies which mainly focused on immersing yourself into the lives of the respondents. After today, I can see just how important that can be. Walking past this village every day I had an idea of what it may be like, but actually being able to go in and visit with a family and see how/where they live, helped me to gain an entirely new perspective. That's the only life they know and they make the absolute most of it everyday. To put it in perspective, I am sitting here typing this on an iPad in a room (three times as big as their entire house) at a five star hotel, with AC, running water, room service, etc. and yet I still find my self complaining about silly things. It's so ridiculous. These families are pretty inspiring if you ask me. I wish everyone could have the opportunity to walk through that fishing village and see how positive, humble, and welcoming they were to complete strangers piling into their homes. I love this country.  Time for me to "confirm" my new friendship :) 


No comments:

Post a Comment