Pondering the possibilities

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Iloilo Province, The Phillipines, 21st February 2009

I'm back online after my sojourn in rural Iloilo province and still digesting the whole experience of being immersed in BoP/rural life for (me) such an extended period. As impressions and images are still juggling into place, few insights emerge at this time other than an overall sense of optimism and industry. My faith in human nature and its indomitable courage, goodwill and sense of community is slowly coming back to life.

While I'll certainly share some basic stories about the people that I met with just like I did during my Indian trip, expect postings to go a bit slower for a while as I have a sense that there is more here than meets the eye at first glance.

A part of me is tempted – even before I've finished pondering – to leap forward and say, you know, there is no such thing as the base or bottom of any pyramid. There is simply the challenge of managing livelihoods, securing futures, uncovering opportunities and living life – circumstances and situations simply create different challenges for different people.

Of all the people in the world, there are some of us who have jobs with fixed salaries that arrive predictably and periodically and there are more of us who manage on cash flows that are not always predictable or regular. The amounts vary – greatly – but one can still say that for the great majority in the world, the shock of the unexpected expense or an emergency or even simply redundancy, can be as much of a stressful challenge regardless of how much you earn, how you earn it and where you live.

And yet, as one perceives the flow of life among these close knit and usually related communities, one sees a greater strength in the ability to withstand the shocks with some measure of equanimity. After all, with life comes the sudden tempest of a typhoon, and years of hard work may disappear in a day. One carries on. Rebuild and renew because that is what the cycle of nature and life is all about. Resilience is a new term that I would add to my existing impression of the "BoP" – this is with reference to my previous writing on "Life is hard". That's about all I'm ready to say at this point though. I still need more time to figure things out.

This field visit was a learning experience in more ways than one, that is, beyond the professional interest there was also a personal journey. But that's a story for another blog.

This entry was posted in ASEAN, Base of the Pyramid, Culture, Income, Philipines, Research, rural, User research. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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