Ahmedabad!

I’m back, yes, again. Although I’m in Ahmedabad and I’m working, it’s like I never left. Getting into the car I didn’t blink twice when we were driving on the left side of the road, at the horns, at the crazy driving, the smells, the sounds, or the language. It was really as if I was here just the other day. I was shocked.

I’m here for work to look at our partner organization, do some trainings. I’ll take a few days afterwards to go to Pune and visit my friends, play capoeira, and relish in a life I used to live here. I love it.
I’m fortunate to have friends who miss me enough, and who have a flexible schedule, to visit me while I’m here in Ahmedabad. Manoj and Arjun have been with me during my off time. I’m sitting in my hotel room, typing this while Arjun plays old Hindi songs and Manoj reads his book.
The benefits of my job are beyond the day to day work I get to do. Visiting the programs today was like a dream. The children have embodied the work we try to do, the partner organization is so amazing in all of the work they do. They focus on peace and reconciliation between the Muslim and Hindu communities in Gujarat. The two leaders are some of the most amazing people I’ve met.
This year I’ve decided to do a 6 word poem every day. When I asked them what their 6 word poem would be for their lives, they said. “Lovable fool who didn’t make it,” (meaning not the way other people wanted him to “make it”) and ” I am thinking about the children.” What amazing, strong, and beautiful people I have in my life.
My blog posts are not really for work purposes so I’d love to focus on India again. Last night for dinner I jumped right into the heart of chaat and ate pani puri. Gujarat is known for dhokla and I had some of that too. Tonight, more pani puri. We went to a stall with 6 different “flavors” including jeera, mint, tomato, garlic, plain, and lemon. It was amazing! I’ve never had anything like it.
Gujarat does make me sad. There are still riots that echo the 2002 riots. Gujarat is supposed to be the model state. It’s the Prime Minister’s idea for a model state for India. Based on some of the communities which I walked through today, I’d say that this is a low standard for model. One of the communities gets all of the runoff from the garbage dump (which is as big as a small mountain…yes, literally). This invades their streets and pools in the roads during the rainy season. Communities have had to protect themselves against strong construction corporations so that they don’t get run out of their homes. The government also set up a community next to a power grid station, underneath high voltage power lines.
There is great work going on. I met one of the community leaders and although he’s a chaiwala by day, he’s also one of the men who lead the community and represents them. The more I learn about what’s going on here, the more I feel that the injustices in the world are the things that bind us. We’re busy protecting ourselves in the US from some of the same issues: housing, job security, education, free speech, and making a better life for yourself and your community.
    • Nancy
    • January 17th, 2015

    Thanks for sharing the beauty of the program and the excitement of being with old friends and eating delicious food. Nancy

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