Back in the states at last and let me say reverse culture shock is a crazy thing…
After I catch up on sleep, grab hold of my emotions, and process all that I have experienced since February, I’ll write like I have never written before…
For now, I shall continue to search for cows in the streets and recover from the jetlag after days of travel.
* Please check out the link below to better understand some of the work I did in India with my fellow students : )
Aloha to all of my family and friends who so kindly take the time to read my blog. Please forgive me for taking so long to write and provide you all with updates about my adventures and travels here in India.
Between each cup of ginger-infused chai tea, inhalation of rickshaw exhaust, tour of city palaces and forts, and three hour camel rides, I struggle to find a spare moment to simply mentally process each experience. Keeping up with my blog is an additional struggle!
After I return to the states, I shall blog about my experiences in India and provide thorough and thoughtful reflections. In the meantime, here is a quick recap…..
The last two weeks have been a whirlwind and completely flown by….
*Long day of Presentations on our final Friday, March 25th. Dressed formally in a sarree and had a successful final presentation!
*That night…celebration with our fellow Indian students included authentic South Indian food and dancing.
*As a group, we travelled to the city of Delhi and Agra. City Tours and saw the Taj!
* Part of the group headed home to Boston and I stayed here to explore more of India!
* Sites so far…….
Jaipur, The Pink City
Jaisalmer, The Golden City
Jodhpur, The Blue City
Udaipur, The City of Lakes
*Now I am in the city of Pune! : )
Complete travel stories soon to come….
A wonderful site during fieldwork for BCT last month….
MARCH 23rd: BCT is Complete!
We have excellent news! Implementation for BCT is at last 100% complete!! YAY.
Our translations FINALLY came through. We met with Lakshmish on Sunday, had the materials read over, and were able to successfully print all of the materials.
Yesterday evening, the four of us went to the BCT office and presented all of our materials to Lakshmish, Chiara, Prashant (Inchara Project Coordinator), and all of the case workers. The materials my group and I produced, included the case-study guide, documentation system (village binders with case studies written up), nutrition guide, and nutrition reference sheet. We provided a single copy of each in English and the remaining copies are all in Kannada. The materials were delivered in bags from the RAPID market along with a notebook and crayons for the children.
All of the materials were very well received and it was quite gratifying to see everything come together after waiting over three weeks for the materials to be translated. Lakshmish and the staff gave us excellent feedback and we loved hearing how much they appreciated the materials. Also important to note, several of the case workers gave us feedback about their experience working with us and any challenges they faced while having us out in the field.
I have not yet fully comprehended that we are at last complete with our BCT project. With our second huge project, the Global Corp Practicum, due in just two days, any celebration or relief will have to wait until Friday afternoon!
Patience—the reoccurring lesson
Another day of field research. Another day of unexpected change in plans. Another day of long group discussions. Fleshing out ideas. Fine-tuning details. This morning two of our group members were feeling physically exhausted. I took it upon myself to revive the energy so we could have a productive day. Speaking slowly to my India peers, utilizing facial expressions, and being overall energetic finally rubbed off after a couple of hours out in the field.
When I made the decision to expend extra energy to liven up the group’s energy, I did not take into account my sleep deprivation and own physical exhaustion. Last night, my brain was ticking. I could stop running through ideas for our project. At 2 a.m. I think my eyes finally closed and three hours later at 4:55 a.m. I awoke to my alarm for my 5:30 yoga class. Particularly because Kijana was joining me, I was more excited than ever to go. I can sleep when I return to the States right? I did not want to miss out on the opportunity to do yoga with Vessuda, my vibrant teacher. Of course, yoga today lasted forty-five minutes longer than usual. Vessuda continued to take us through “one last pose” at least fifteen times. It was rather excellent though! I relished every moment of class, though the exhaustion set in this afternoon. The tables turned…the energy of my group was decent and I now I was feeling drained.
Perhaps, two hours of yoga after just three hours of sleep was not the best idea.
More sleep tonight to get refreshed for tomorrow!
A quote to remember…
Not that I find myself getting angry for any one reason or another, but this quote reminds me to just let go of things..be chill : )
Today, our schedule was once again packed with class and activities. Sarah and I had a great day of research yesterday and have brainstormed quite a bit about our project solution.
As I have mentioned again and again, the choice to focus on HIV/AIDS presented us with many challenges in terms of research in the community. Our group has done an excellent job and today we made a final decision to do our project model on a Wellness Center for HIV+ women. We were very excited today when our idea was so well received by two of our Indian group members.
For the Center we want to take a holistic approach to provide the clients with an array of services including yoga classes, cooking classes, nutrition education, and a support group. We are playing with several other ideas too. Perhaps we will figure out a way to creatively incorporate gardening with medicinal plants and a day care service (for any young children of the mothers). With the design of our model, a large challenge has been figuring out a way to maintain confidentiality while still advertising a community center for these women.
The toughest part of this project is the fact that it is a hypothetical design and we are not going to be here in India to implement it. If our project model/idea could one day be implemented in the future we think it would be very successful and benefit many women.
The global corp practicum has been far from simple. As I have mentioned before, my group has been having trouble narrowing down our social issue and developing an appropriate solution. By choosing the topic of HIV/AIDS, our group knew our project was going to be rather challenging right from the start. HIV/AIDS is a sensitive topic and can be rather difficult to discuss, especially here in the Hubli community. After days of intense research, we are finally making great progress! We have chosen to focus on HIV-positve mothers who face social, economic, emotional, mental, and physical challenges. The Organization we envision will take a holistic approach to support our target population. Our design and idea shall preserve Indian culture and tradition while alleviating the stress this population of women may face. For now, I am intentionally being vague….once our idea is fully developed it shall be revealed!
At this point, I do not know what to expect in the week to come nor do I know what to expect during my travels in India after this program ends. I have faith that everything will work out….and at this point all I ask of myself is to love what’s next and discover the stars.
Baking under the hot Hubli sun, I actually would have loved to be in a dark tunnel. Shade. Perhaps, damp. Secretive environment…ideal for talking with people about the issue of HIV.
P.S. No sir, you are mistaken about my occupation…I am just a student gathering research unavailable on google.
MARCH 17TH: GO TO THE NEXT DEGREE
With the research for our project, with my yoga practice, and for the final week in Hubli, it is time to go to the next degree with the levels of intensity, effort, and commitment.
Inspirational video I utilized in my days as a runner…
Failure as opportunity!
Today was an extremely bust day chock full of field research. Our group visited a range of sites, and overall gather quality research which we are anxious to link together. Though research has been going well, we are experiencing some frustration. Many other groups in class seem to have their solutions (for the social issue) completely worked out. Our group has a considerable amount of research to gather before we can develop an effective, sustainable, and feasible solution. Denise continues to remind us to see failure as a window of opportunity. In my mind we have not failed at anything yet, but this idea still directly correlates to what we are experiencing. We have a great opportunity to be creative, open, and explore a variety of resources. Our hearts are not set on any one particular idea and because of this we are taking a wide approach to our research. In the week to come we are excited for the opportunity to explore ideas to develop a great project. Field Research Thursday evening and this Friday should accelerate the process and get us moving in the right direction.