India Part 2 - The Chicken Whisperer

Hi All, Today we travelled more than 2 hours south of Lucknow to visit two clients of Margdarshak (Opportunity International partner in India) to spend time to understand more about how microfinancing has impacted the quality of life of the people. Margdarshak translates to English as "those who show the way".
First stop was an Urban village where we had the opportunity to sit and talk to the ladies of the village to ask questions and sample the products that their businesses produce. This was a wonderful experience as we were greeted with open arms and warm smiles.

One of the ladies, Nujhat, was on her fourth loan cycle and has been able to change her life and send her children to school for the first time as a result. Both Chris and I could see that this lady was an entrepreneur who could see what was possible for her to achieve with the ‘hand up’ that Opportunity International, via its partners was providing. The products that this village produces includes fireworks, insense sticks, toys and jewellery. We captured a short video on the making of incense which involves rolling a coal and tree sap based mixture onto wooden sticks

The second stop saw us visiting a Rural village where Margdarshak is helping farmers increase the yields on all their crops by utilizing SRI ( System of Rice intensification) I believe that this techqnique was first used in Madagascar and has the benefit of increasing production up to 100% whilst utilising less water. More rice, less cost - means more food and more money for the community.
With our visits out the way the only thing left to do was to travel the two hours back to Lucknow. About half way back our convoy stopped at a roadside village who sold coffee amongst other things. As we approached the shop I saw a sight to my right which I had never seen before, 2 Green Chickens. Obviously the villagers loved their chickens so much they had dyed them green, they were happy, funky chickens. As a small group of us continued to laugh I could hear Chris’s voice to the side talking about how as a wee boy back in Hobart he used to love hypnotizing his family chickens. Before I could turn my head, and much to the amazement of all present, Chris grabbed a chicken (I affectionately called ‘Paddy’) and had softly turned the chicken over onto its back and was slowing moving his index finger vertical down its breast plate. Well bugger me, Paddy had a sleep for 10 seconds and then came back to life to the applause of our travel party. I wasn’t clapping, I was breathing again, because when Paddy didn’t move for 10 seconds I was planning my exit strategy. Anyway it all ended well, with everyone learning something new and no chickens were harmed.

In summary today was a great experience and further validated 4impact's continued support in the Opportunity charter. Simply put microfinancing is making a difference.

You can see the third article in our blog series here:
See you tomorrow
Mark & Chris