When a friend of mine asked me, “What is RCA actually? Is it just doing qualitative research by going to rural areas?”. I answered, “Hm… yeah… but for me, it is more than that...”
For me, RCA is a series of journeys to be discovered and bunch of lessons to be learned. I have encountered so many things that have opened my eyes about how strong people living in poverty are.
In one of the studies, I arrived in the location quite late because the trip had been difficult because of the heavy rain. People kept telling us that it was only going to take another 30 minutes, but it turned out we spent three and a half hours in a muddy road and all of us fell from our ojeks!
When we arrived, it was already dark. There was no street lamp at all and people rarely went out at night. After I talked with some people, a man offered me to stay in his home. At that time I did not mind where I would stay and whether it would be appropriate for the RCA… I could always try to find a more suitable household the next day.
I thought he must be a man with a position or good house, but it turned out I was wrong. His house was at the edge of the village, there was no room at all, they did not have door (they used big sheet of plywood as removable “door”), no bathroom/toilet. His pregnant wife greeted me too.
It surprised me that the one who opened their door for me was the one who actually was least likely to have ever had a guest in their home. He even offered the other team members to stay with him.
It was one of so many life lessons that I have learned during RCA immersions. I am eager to see what other experiences lie in front of me. It is really more than meets the eye….