1) Activities performed in the last month:
The past month went in a blur. Maybe it’s because Feb is the shortest month or because I for once didn’t have much work pressure that I did not feel as rushed as I do normally. The beginning of the month was used to perform the usual task of putting together new petitions and getting ready to file them. this was easier than usual as my last refusal to work on account of failing health ensured that my colleagues shared the workload.
another thing I concentrated on was working on my blog and sharing it with my organisation mentors. they were pleasantly surprised to see the sort of documentation I was doing. their appreciation was a big motivation to do it better and put more efforts in it.
my first action project is now at execution level. a 4 day artist residency called The Reva Diaries is scheduled to begin in the first week of April. Artists from various cities would come and spend 4 days with the villagers in submerged/about to be submerged villages and take inspiration from the environment and the effect of the dam projects that are visible in the lives of the ousted. these artists will then present their work at Jantar Mantar in Delhi in the month of May after YfD gets over.
one majorly interesting day for me this month was the 16th of Feb. while my first art show opened in Delhi with pictures from the villages of MP, I was sent to 5 villages to get some papers signed within a period of one day. the journey began with me reaching the first village at around 3. lack of communication with my mentors, led me to try to fit in all the work within a period of 24 hours as the papers needed to be filed the very next day in JBL that too by me only. ( 😛 ) I was running the entire evening from one village to another,high on energy as I was doing field work after a long time. I travelled with 4 different people on 4 different bikes (!) within one night and ended up at the rooftop of the Mandleshwar office at 1am. my bus to Khandwa was at 5:30 and no one had the keys to the office. the night was spent at the rooftop walking from one end to the other. it was perhaps one of the most adventurous things I have ever done. I slept on my journey back to Khandwa and caught a train at 10 am, reaching JBL by 4. I felt like I was in a movie like 60 hours or something!
I left for home on the 28th to meet my aunt and to go to the doctor. so this report is belated as I am still just figuring out how I’ll leave home again and go back! and I cant wait to!
2) Challenges faced
The biggest challenge I faced this month was dealing with other people of my age working at NBA and refusing to do work. Also I had a tiny tiff with another volunteer from Action Aid for not realizing that working in a group sometimes means you have to work alone as wel.
the other challenge was to break the communication gap that had led to my “race against time”. often if the mentors and the mentee are able to clarify confusions, a lot of energy time and money is wasted. this should be avoided at all costs.
3) How did you resolve them (if they are resolved??)
The first challenge I have not been able to resolve as even confronting and discussing the matter in a friendly manner didn’t reap any benefits. I am at a loss as to how to communicate with the people concerned as any more pushing might be taken in the wrong manner. instead I am not just doing my bit of the work and trying to demarcate work so everyone has to do an equal bit.
the second challenge is an easier one to solve as proper communication breaks all barriers and confusions. I plan to keep my mentors better updated now and clarify doubts even if it means that I feel dumb in my head. 😛
4) Any learning from this experience.(could be about self/ society/ issue)
my learning experiences this month are varied. on one level i developed a new respect for the village people and their trustworthiness. on another level I realized that I can infact stand my ground and not do other people’s work and be taken for granted. also made better friends with the other action aid volunteer who helped me cope up better in the absence of my partner. I also somewhere realized that everyone has their own capabilities and sometimes it takes a while for them to be apparent to us so we should never judge people too soon.
5) Any broad plan for next month?
march for me is a month of traveling back and forth between Delhi and Khandwa as I have been finally given an ultimatum both by my family and my mentors to start my treatments. this would require repeated visits to the doctors back home. also its the time for me to start filling in college applications and that has to be taken care of too. I was pleasantly taken aback when my application for leave got a very positive response from my mentors, not because of anything else but because even though it means more work load on my colleagues at khandwa they told me to take care of my health first. also an encouraging mail from Silvey (one of the organisation heads) made me realize that the relationship I have forged with NBA will probably last longer than 6 months.
march also is the preparation time for the perfect execution of Reva Diaries and making progress on the book which I have shamefully ignored so far in feb.
6) Number of people got impacted through those activities :
The new cases involve 25 families from various villages. The publicity for Reva Diaries has many people interested in NBA as well. also my blog now has a healthy readership of 10(!) people on every average day.
The only celebration this month was regarding the photography show that you all have seen the invite to. the response was good and helped generate interest in the art community of Delhi.
another tiny personal achievement I would like to share would be the display of a photo essay i made last year by a reputed website aksgar.com. the link to it is http://aksgar.com/2011/when-men-are-from-venus.html