Chapter 2: How does one lay the foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship?

The main form of communication throughout MGV is word of mouth. The community is so small and close knit that everyone is eventually informed about important events. Many villagers were aware that a group of American students would soon come to their village, but beyond that, there were just rumours. Our team thus needed a concrete way to tell everyone in the community that we were here, who we were, what we were trying to accomplish, and to stress our goal of creating an effort led by the community with assistance from our team. The perfect opportunity to achieve these goals happened serendipitously through MGV’s annual Village Day.

Click on the photo to read more about Village Day!

Village Day is a traditional weekend long celebration during October in MGV. October is the village’s heritage month, and it celebrates the creation of the community, their closeness and culture. We had met one of the coordinators of the celebration, Alistair, on the first day we visited the community. He openly invited us to Village Day and ensured us that if the team needed any help to not hesitate in asking. After some deliberation, it was concluded that the celebration would be the perfect venue to strategically introduce ourselves and the collaborative project to the whole community at once. We coordinated with Alistair to not only use the stage as well as the microphones but we were also asked to judge the “MGV’s Got Talent” show.

In order to help uplift the community and to develop a relationship between MGV and WPI, we created certificates for the talent show. The certificates were endorsed by both WPI and MGV and they were printed with detail in colour as well as on thick paper to ensure longevity so that each participant, whether they won or not, could have a token of which they could feel proud.