So now that we’re finally caught up on real time (yaaay!) I thought I’d fill you all in on the work I’m doing here, what’s going on with my fellow LIFErs, and just regular daily living things. Fair warning: this is likely to be a super long blog post…
I’m working these 15 weeks as an intern at the MV Foundation (http://www.mvfindia.in/) where I’m assisting them with their campaign against corporal punishment. There is a tremendous amount of literature available on issues related to corporal punishment in India but there is a major gap in published research on teachers and teaching strategies that do not employ corporal punishment. Sooooo, as a result, my job is to fill that gap in the literature by spending the next 15 weeks researching and ultimately producing a paper that highlights the profile of teachers and teaching methods that do not use CP. Check back to my blog in 15 weeks hopefully for a copy of my paper J If I do a well enough job I may even get my first publication out of this (fingers crossed!)
The work environment is really comfortable and relaxed. The office is in an apartment building and there are only about 20-25 people who work here. It’s a national organization and I’m working at the headquarters which means I get to work amongst the head honchos of this place, pretty sweet… With the exception of one, all of the employees are men, which has been way less of an intimidating experience than I anticipated it would be. I genuinely feel like I’ve been treated as an equal here and that my input and presence in the workplace are really valued. Not at all what I expected but a very pleasant surprise. I’ve already started making a couple friends here at work and am really looking forward to getting to know my co-workers and my supervisor better.
My office is in a neighborhood about 15 minutes from my apartment called West Maridpelly (pronounced Mardipolly). There are a few schools in the neighborhood and yesterday Gabe (the guy in my program who is also at MVF) and I discovered a market that sells the nicest, freshest produce we’ve seen yet. I picked up veggies to make stirfry last night and seriously got the best deal in the entire world… 2 eggplants, 1 cabbage, 1 green pepper, 5 tomatoes, a bundle of basil, and a bundle of chives for 74 rupees, which equals less than 2 dollars. That’s even a good deal for India standards!!
Fellow LIFErs and My Home Life
There’s definitely forward motion with the group in a positive direction. Noa, the director of our program, left India last night so we’re now officially on our own for the next 3 months (with the help of Venkat, our designated coordinator here in India). The dynamics have changed a lot from where we were a month ago and I’m starting to find that I’ve been spending more and more days comfortably feeling like myself again. I can roll out of bed in the morning with my hair all over the place, I can dance in the living room and leap down the hallway, I can get sassy and competitive when we play board games (and for the record I haven’t lost a game of Checkers or Monopoly yet! Just sayin…), and I can talk about how garlic noodles and cottage cheese mixed together is still my favorite food. We’re all getting to that point where we experiences each other quirks and it definitely makes room for us all to enjoy each other’s company that much more. Actually this Sunday is Alex’s birthday so we’re planning on spending the day at a nearby hotel to enjoy the pool, the gym, the wireless internet, and the all-you-can-eat buffet. Should be good times :)
Our apartment is really big and super nice, with the exception of the way sound travels. Somehow we manage to hear everything from outside at a super loud volume yet can’t even hear each other from the living room around the corner to the kitchen. While the amenities are all pretty dirty, outdated, and to be brutally honest they’re just plain right disgusting, I think the fact that we have a maid makes up for it. We had to get one, despite the seemingly majority consensus against it, because our landlord got one for us. She cleans every day, does all our dishes, cleans our laundry, hangs it out to dry, and then folds it and brings it back for us every day.
Favorite house feature: filtering water! Once a day, Rachel and I are responsible for getting “drinking water” from the “drinking water” tap and taking an hour to boil it. Then we have to let the water cool over night before we pour it into the filtration system that drips for about a day until we can drink the water. We just started this process last night after struggling with how to assemble the water filter for a good hour. It was actually kind of fun and if this exciting feeling of “we’re making our own water!” persists then this process may end up being one of the more fun perks of Indian living. Yet TBD on that one.
There’s so much more I want to share with you all on my daily living here but if this blog gets any longer then there might be a max of a whole 3 people who read it! More to come…
P.S. Rando India fact of the day: Rather than nodding or head shaking, people here tilt their heads to the left and right. It doesn't mean yes or no, in fact it doesn't really mean anything.
|Our apartment! Mr. and Dr. Bakshi live on the top floor and their sons and their families live on the other two floors. Our apartment is on the floor with the balcony just above where it says Bakshis. That's Amy and Nurit's room with the balcony.|
|Ya know, just the irregular garbage pickup. Looks efficient huh?|