The best thing about development work, to me, is how it forces you to think beyond yourself. For someone with the tendency to become unashamedly self-obsessed (as this blog would bear witness) its a bit of a relief to focus my attention, and worry, on someone else - someone much less privileged than I am. Curiously, as does anthropology, development also gives me the kind of perspective I need to deal with all-the-crap in my life.
And on that note, I begin day 03 of my trip to Thailand. About a 180 turn from my last decadent, tourist-y experience of the country, this time I came here for a learning event which features long-long days filled with development theory on Women's Economic Leadership (acronym, WEL) and other things related to livelihood. By the time the workshop (which starts abysmally early) ends, nothing much is open except for the strip-shows (or more, umm, interesting entertainment) and the bars. Neither of which make my shopping-oriented self too happy. And today, we leave for a poor fishing village about 4 hours out of Bangkok (even further from civilization) where the host organization has just begun its development work, and have graciously opened their doors to 30 'experts' who will all offer their advice on how to proceed. (God-help-them!).
But the feel-good-factor is: despite what does, or does not, happen in my personal life - my professional life is focused on helping people improve their lives. Whether this be through enhanced income or improving their social position, what I do matters. And - by extension - so do I!