Tuesday, July 11, 2006

An overdue hello...

Hey folks,

I'm writing this from an internet cafe in Delhi (Lajpat Nagar, if that has meaning for you). Although this particular internet cafe is just one computer big.

A brief update: I work for an NGO; I live in a guesthouse; I eat a lot of mangos; I'm here for a couple months (tbd, precisely).

Now for some quick notes on my living here --
Traffic. There's a lot of it. It consists of people walking and autorickshaws (like a fancy three-wheeled golf-cart taxi) and bicycle rickshaws and motorbikes and regular bikes and cows and buses and cars and other assorted odds and ends. It's funny how quickly a person adjusts; I'm already used to the cows.
NGOs. I like them. I arrived at the NGO where I now intern only 7 hours after getting to Delhi (due to missed connections and the like) and was really pleasantly surprised to realize that I can sit down and start reading through materials about HIV/AIDS prevention and adolescent sexuality education and gender equity and feel right at home, even on the other side of the world. There's an international NGO-speak language, which I happily realized I'm somewhat proficient in speaking -- which is a big plus given that I don't speak Hindi or any of the other dozens and hundreds of Indian languages.
People. They're nice. Really, I've been overwhelmed with hospitality since coming here. In part by long-term Delhi residents and in part by others in the short-medium term migratory community of ex-pats and foreigners and (mostly) people from other states in India.
Streets. Streets are crowded and hectic and full of fruit and vegetables and small shops and piles of rubbish and animals and people. However, they are conspicuously missing the usual number of women. There are mostly men on the streets of Delhi. I didn't realize how much I rely on seeing other women on the street in my Delhi interactions.
Weather. Thankfully, the monsoon started on Sunday breaking a truly unbearable week and a half of unmitigated heat. Yay, rain!

Moving on from the obligatory part...

This is a place to make me think. And a place for me to try and learn how to do something good with my anger. To let it move things rather than choke things. I haven't figured that out yet.

A thing to think on: .7% of women aged 15-24 in India are HIV+ ( and .3% of the same group of men) I discovered in my reading on Monday. There has been a tremendous wave of farmer suicides due to crop failure and mounting debt and the selling of seeds. I will keep updating in these areas, regularly. Particularly the former as that's the area of my research where I work.

There is a place for rage.

Also, there are monkeys that hang out outside the entrance to the B'hai Lotus Temple gardens. This is something David (in search of Hanuman) might be interested to know. There are fabulous, endless mangoes. There are people ready to extend kindness to strangers (those people themselves strangers of different kinds).

There is a place also for something of wonder and awe.

I will update more, later.

1 comment:

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