After a morning of writing up documents in English and Hindi to make sure all the project stakeholders agree on their respective responsibilities, Musheer and I headed over to YWCA to confirm their attendance at the second big sustainability meeting on Saturday and get their feeback and advice on current challenges. On the right is Vardi Devi (the leader of the community mobilizers for this YWCA branch) and Shanti Devi (office director). I am so impressed with both of these women - they are sharp, strong, connected, and they know what they are capable of. Any community problem we explain to them, they are able to see through all the fog and tell everything as it is - bluntly. They don't speak english but I greatly enjoy every meeting with them.
After the meeting, Musheer, Dharnani and I had a few hours to hang around the community before the others came at 6pm to set up for the show. Here are some local girls we know.
Later on, I decided I would start drawing animals to see if the kids could identify them. Seven animals, two insects and ten minutes later I was being pressed on all sides by small bodies pointing and yelling out names in Bengali, Hindi, and English (from two of the older girls).
I was sitting near the temple writing in my project notebook when this little guy pulled up a stool and sat down right next to me.
At 6:30pm - an hour before the show the crowd has already begun to form. We learned the lesson about crowd control already...
The show starts and the people are captivated. Big cheers erupt from the crowd for images of the most popular neighborhood children, well-known shop keepers and friendly community leaders appear on the screen....I nearly cried...but I have also been short on sleep for three weeks now.
As we were packing up, the children's ecitement could no longer be controlled. We protected the equiptment, but Julie who was attempting to take a picture with some children was knocked to the growd by the mob of excited half-pints. Never in my life have I felt like as much of a celebrity - little children popped up all over with their hands stretched out waiting to shake mine and as we walked to the main road and waited for an auto, our 1 m tall entourage was all around us. As the auto pulled away last minute handshakes were exchanged and everyone waved and said good bye.
We were all glowing.
The MIT team decided to treat the RF team to dinner so we went to Le Chef in Sector 37 and had a tasty feast. Despite the exhaustion (several team members hadn't slept at all the night before) - we laughed all through dinner at our inside jokes and impersonations of particularly eccentric (or difficult) people we have met (or people who will surely get fired when their government contract is over...).
All hands in the middle...1,2,3..."INDIA!"