pre rainy season rains

This past week I was with all Akanksha people for a new staff retreat; new staff meaning anyone who wasn’t on staff at the retreat last year. Like any other staff retreat, it takes you out of your comfort zone, out of your immediate area, and puts you with a bunch of people who you don’t know, people who you know just a bit, and folks who you know well but have never shared this kind of experience with before. For some staff it was their first days with the organization, for others, they were shifting to a new role or had been with the organization for some time. It was an eclectic mix of people. We played games, learned more about the Akanksha culture; became inducted into the organization so to speak. For me it was interesting because I was the only new foreigner. My other American co-worker participated in it last year and was now on the team that organized it.
The bus ride there involved a game of singing parts of songs and guessing a new song based on the last sound of the last song. They were all in Hindi, but I enjoyed them just the same. It was a very competitive, yet jovial game. The week was about the same, informative, forced thinking, and yet a lot of fun. I really enjoyed getting to know some of the newer teachers, some of the new staff. We also were combined with the Mumbai staff, however, many of the bonds, although unintentional, came within the two cities, not between them. One of the things I know I had to work on was my relationship with the teachers, so I dove right in. After hours – our days started at 7:45am and ended around 9:00pm – we spent time telling jokes, translating jokes, and talking through the rest of the night.
The only thing I was allowed to organize was energizers to start the day. I was so good at them (I have to thank some special people at the old organization I worked at who really prepared me for these moments) that everyone wanted me to start their day with a chant. At some point in the past year I’ve lost much of my fear of standing in front of adults. I’m really happy about this. Although it’s quite easy for me to stand and teach in front of kids, it’s less easy for me to do the same in front of adults.
I also found a new friend/role model in one of the staff members. It was really exciting for me and nice to find someone to look up to and to find a new friend in someone I already knew.
The last evening we were on this campus, there was a huge storm. When I say huge storm, I say huge storm. Like a few weeks ago, the sky turned completely black. This time the wind blew so hard while it was raining even harder, people had to stand in front of the doors to keep them closed. We were on the ground floor of the building and two sides of the room were glass. For a good few minutes I was actually thought that the glass might break at the force of the winds. It wasn’t a two second storm either. I’m not sure how long it lasted, but it was enough time for us to realize that when the power went out it wasn’t going to come back on at any point in time. We found out later that the back up generator and the back up of the backup generator had both been destroyed. The groundskeeper found this out by going into the generator room and looked up. Thinking the roof had been recently repainted, he did a double take to realize that the roof was gone. Trees were uprooted, statues and garbage cans were thrown about. it wasn’t a very calm storm to say the least. This also led us to know that if power is out, so is water. We decided that we would leave early the next morning. Dinner was by candle light. It was pretty amazing that the kitchen still was able to cook, and cook decently.

I’ve also figured out that when I leave the element of Pune, I get homesick. It hit me hard on the second day we were there. Now that I’m back, even if just for a bit, I feel much, much better. I’m hoping that eventually this will wear away. It seems almost silly that I’m getting homesick at this point. Today makes 7 months I’m here.

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