A 'gem' cutter amongst farmers | Milaap

A 'gem' cutter amongst farmers

I went to visit Manjula, but she was not available. Instead, I visited another borrower from the group, Mariyayi Durairaj. Mariyayi lives in T. Puthur, a village of 1,000 households about 40 kilometers outside of Trichy, Tamil Nadu. When I arrived in T. Puthur, I was greeted with smiles from three women dressed in vibrantly colored saris, though none of them were Mariyayi. When I asked where Mariyayi was, they said something to a young girl and sent her running around the corner. User-added imageA few minutes later Mariyayi came walking down the street from the shop where she works as a gem-cutter - a very rare profession in T. Puthur where most people work as agricultural laborers. She recently took a local class to learn how to use the electrically powered grinding machine. When I asked what she was working on that day, she told me that she was working with a pair of red gems that would be used to make earrings.User-added imageAlong with her husband, Mariyayi lives with her two children, two brothers-in-law, and their four children. After drinking a cup of chai, I asked Mariyayi what she had done with her loan from Milaap. We were talking in front of her neighbor’s house, so Mariyayi led me down the road to her house.User-added imageUser-added imageWhen we arrived, she took me to the side of her house, sidestepping a pregnant goat with blue horns in the process. Her toilet is a rectangular cement structure that is about ten meters from her house. It is well-constructed, although it does not have a door. When I looked inside, the toilet was being used to store wooden posts. Mariyayi seemed embarrassed about the use of the toilet. Unfortunately, the sensitivity of the subject prevented me from asking questions about why the family does not use the toilet, and where they currently go to relieve themselves. Although the cement super structure is fully constructed, the lack of a door may be an indicator that the plumbing is not finished. Most of the families in the village do not have a toilet, so I am hopeful that once other families start to build and use toilets, Mariyayi and her family will clean out theirs and begin to use it.