Sunday, November 05, 2006

3rd week: Monday 23rd- Sunday 29th October 2006 – Finding my rhythm

This week I just mainly went in to work at Swayam. Since Anu had left for her two-week travel to the US for a conference, I just went into the office on Monday and finished typing up my summary of Swayam’s annual report 2004-2005, which gave me a pretty good idea of the kind of work they do. Sometimes I feel that what I’m doing is useless, that I could have done the same thing without flying over here and staying here with them. I could have asked them to mail me their publications and then just written summaries of all of them. I however catch myself whenever I think that, because I am getting to see the world, and to see the daily interactions and day to day work that they do. It’s all nice and groovy on a printed document, but I am appreciating the work more when I see the professionalism and familiarity with which the staff at Swayam deals with each other and with the numerous women they see. I’m also eating pretty good food, and now I own some of their Salwar Kameez outfits, which are pretty groovy. I went with Chandrana to Dakshinapan, a government regulated shopping mall to get some new outfits and gifts for others.

Tuesday and Wednesday were public holidays, so I didn’t need to go in to work. I decided to visit the internet café on Tuesday afternoon, to see if I could download a few shows to watch in the evenings. Oh goodness! What a terrible, absolutely horrendous idea! In order to not get the shows illegally (okay, one particular show: Grey’s Anatomy), I decided to purchase it on iTunes, thinking that since it was a legal connection, it would download faster. Sooooooooooooooo not true. I regretted buying it on iTunes, and felt that I would have gotten the shows faster if I had stuck to my guns. The connection crawled much slower than any snail or slug I’ve come across, and I was there for about six hours. I did get to chat with Twum and some other friends on Skype, Yahoo messenger and Google chat.

I went back to work on Thursday and Friday. It was pretty much me reading, and helping out around the office, and also asking questions of the ladies who worked there. I had been allowed to sit in on two conferences that a lawyer had had with two women, so that was also pretty cool, even though I didn’t understand anything that was going on. These two days passed very quickly and before I knew it, it was the weekend.

On Saturday I took the West Bengal Tourism Company’s tour of Kolkata. I met an Indian guy called Arvind who had gone to MIT for grad school and was now working as a software engineer in Bangalore. He was backpacking through India and had just arrived in Kolkata that morning. He saw that I was in my Amherst Class of 2006 T-shirt, which is how come we got to chatting. We visited a lot of religious sites, like this place at Belur Math, the Kali Temple at Dakshineswar, Kalighat Temple, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. We also visited the house and museum of Netaji Subhas Bose, who was a freedom fighter during World War II, and also the Kolkata Museum. I went to an internet café on the main road for about an hour, bought some Mausambi juice (Mausambi is like the oranges we have in Ghana, but they don’t call them oranges because they have the huge orange-colored oranges here also), and finally made it home, collapsing in an exhausted heap on my bed. I wasn’t feeling too good because we had had lunch late and I hadn’t had enough water to drink.

On Sunday I basically stayed at home for a while, listened to a sermon from Pastor John Wesley of St. John’s, Springfield, MA, did a bit of work-related reading, and then went out for lunch at Café Coffee Day, then headed for the café. After the café, I came home for dinner and went to bed. J

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