“FIELD” one of the simple world before this fellowship program has turned out to become an integral part of life during this fellowship program and I am sure further of my career is going to revolve around this particular word. This is the word which I am most excited about now-a-days as I am gradually getting familiar with it and it brings the adrenaline rush within me. My whole work depends on this word and is the only face for me to experience the experience which I was dreaming before this fellowship program. Well, let just clarify this word in most basic terminology (local working language).
FIELD– This is the operation area of a particular project which includes the beneficiaries and their life.
For eg-: Project MANSI works in the Seraikella block of Seraikella-Kharsawan district. So this block becomes my field or I would say field area for project MANSI.
I am sure many of you have experienced the usage of this word in this context or even using it at your workplace. The beneficiaries of my field are some of the tribal communities of Jharkhand (for details: http://censusindia.gov.in/Tables_Published/SCST/dh_st_jharkhand.pdf ) and some of the general communities (as per the categorisation). Total population of almost 80000 in 167 villages has a number of different community thus different cultures, languages, beliefs and so on.
This experience is totally new for me comprises of excitement (as mentioned earlier), learning, unlearning and re-learning, surprises, happiness, sadness and sometime expressionless and all of these cause of this particular word field and the immense potential of it to attracts you. Real challenge is the variability of behaviour and the ignorance driven by these behaviors. Real challenge is to develop the ‘help seeking behavior’ among the community people and make them to utilize the prevailing facilities and benefits. On a particular day mind plans something favourable after a field visit but reversibly on the second day the same mind successfully opposes that after a different field visit and experience respectively. Intervention need to be feasible and centralised addressing all the issues together in an effective and sustainable manner.
One such day I was out on my field visit and visited one village for the investigation of an infant death. This is one part of my work under the project MANSI and I was waiting for the Sahiyya (village health activist) who was supposed to help me in my investigation. Meanwhile I was in talks with the Anganwadi worker (AWW) of the village. She told me about a woman who gave birth to a baby the last night. I was happy to hear that and decided to visit them as well. When I reached at the newborn’s house the picture which I saw was spine chilling for me. The family as anyone can guess by looking at the condition of the house and surrounding was extremely poor and the husband who looks quite young by the physical features was already a father of six children from the same lady. The mother who gave birth to her child just a few hours ago was working and the new born was on a khaat (bed made of ropes) with barely anything on his body. On asking the mother she said that they can’t stop working as the harvesting time is near and crop is the only earning they have. She also said that the baby is fine as it is the same way she has brought up her other six children and claimed her to be experienced. The baby was not at all covered and was on a side without any attention. With further investigation Sahiyya told us that she didn’t knew about the delivery as it just happened during midnight and also the husband didn’t want to inform anybody because of the criticism he is going to hear for having one more child. They didn’t even call the Dai (traditional birth attendant) and the delivery was conducted by the husband. On taking the temperature the new born was found to be on a verge of getting hypothermic. The intervention was followed after that by the MANSI team and the parents were counselled on Home Based New Born Care (HBNC). Although timely presence and intervention stopped the situation getting worse but it left many questions in my mind. While travelling back the thoughts where storming in my mind and I could relate the health behavior with several other aspects. Is it just by addressing the health issues we can make any difference to the community or do we have to broaden our ideas and the plans? Is it sufficient? Do they put their other concerns higher than the health? Are the other issues need to be foremost than health? How are they inter-related? How can we implement that “Help Seeking Behavior”?
Still finding my answers!!!
It could have been a success story which I have narrated but I narrated this incident just because it made me realise my purpose, my presence and my objectives. It is not like that I see such instances on a daily basis. There are improvements and that simply brings a smile on my face. But still a lot need to be done and that’s too keeping the inter-related chains of different aspects in mind.
So these daily experiences of my field have made my life exciting and meaningful. I am not predicting success of my contribution towards these challenges but one thing is for sure that this phase of my life will make me strong enough to tackle these hardships successfully in future and I will keep enjoying my field.