Been working on an activity to sensitise some of the students here to the idea of reciprocity and mutual respect before sending them to work with the other students in the wider community and it’s made me think about what reciprocity really is. We always talk about the need to understand each other and to ensure mutual respect. But what does that all mean?
Should one party insist on helping another in spite of misgivings of the person being helped? How should we go about ensuring that in all cases, there is a sense of mutual understanding and respect that underlies everything that’s done? Tough questions, especially when one tries to frame one’s work in a community that’s not one’s own and that may have very different ways of seeing things. Not that I’m troubled at the way the project is progressing or anything, just thinking about what these quite high-sounding ideals from the textbooks and all can actually mean when we’re actually working things out on the ground.
The idea of mutual respect can indeed go both ways – we could sometimes respect each other to the extent that nothing gets done. We get so worried about stepping on the other’s toes that we start stepping on our own and tripping ourselves up. But at the same time, if we don’t take care about not treading on grounds that we shouldn’t, nothing effective can get done. What’s the middle ground that we can consider? Getting to this middle ground is important and guess the only solution here is to be intensely aware and to go in with eyes, ears and everything else open to possibilities and the little nuances that seem to be so important.
On a different note, there have been calls for more photos so here we go. One nice (to me at least) shot of the sunset with a silhouette of the tree just outside the flat.