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Ellen: India identity crisis

November 3, 2010

In the last blog I failed to mention that during the awesomeness of the Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF) I went through India Identity Crisis #847.

The festival was great but the experience was kind of like this: imagine being told that you are a member of a community foundation committee an hour before registration for an event begins. The only people that give you direction are people who speak intimidating philanthropy jargon and throw out a million names of people you don’t know. And you do not speak the same language as them.

Needless to say, it was very overwhelming. I adapted quickly because I can handle that sort of run around/stress/logistic environment.

Also, on the way to Jodhpur we dropped off my good friend from the program, Anna, at a village where she would be working with a school. After leaving her in a tiny room in an incredibly rural setting my stomach began to ache with regret. I thought I wasn’t brave enough to go to a village and a city is what I wanted to experience in India. I was lying to myself. After a few freak outs, minor explosions and 17 pages of journaling and talking to my program director and making a few phone calls…I am getting on a train tomorrow night a going to Phalodi.

I will be working for the Urmul foundation, a women’s weaving cooperative that also invests in girls’ empowerment through education. I will be seeing the work in villages as well as the school in the town. I actually don’t know what to expect, but I am surprisingly calm about all of it.

I will be in a village in India for the next 5 weeks, so blogging probably won’t be happening as frequently.

This has been a whirlwind week and I have learned A LOT about myself and really had time to seriously reflect on my India experience.

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