Earlier this week, the orientation for new recruits ended (which I mentioned in my last post) and all of our friends left SPS’s main campus for their respective locations. We were quite sad to see them go and with their departure, our lives and experience here has shifted. For one, the campus is much quieter and we have very few people with whom to socialize. Additionally, our days our no longer pre-planned with lectures and field visits and the time has come for our respective projects to begin in earnest.
Despite our interest and excitement in each of our projects (Natalie will be working with the No Pesticide Management farmers and I will be working with women in Self-Help Groups), the start of our projects has been slow going, if not downright frustrating. Both of our projects are almost entirely field-based and we are heavily reliant on our supervisors’ help for both translation and transportation. This area is not only broad but also home to some pretty terrible roads, making travel time between locations as long as 1 or 2 hours by car, bus, or motorbike.
We have spent a lot of time the past few days waiting—waiting 2-3 hours for someone with a bike to come by and take us back to where we live, waiting 3-4 hours at the executive campus for a 20 minute meeting finalizing the specifics of my project. Bringing a book along does make all the waiting feel a little less bothersome and more fulfilling, so it’s great that we both have kindles and SPS has a small library of super interesting books, which we are free to borrow. I just picked up a few with titles ranging from “Why Microfinance Doesn’t Work” and “Dalits and the Democratic Revolution.”
With our Indian friends gone, a quiet campus, and feeling so reliant on already overworked supervisors, we are wishing we spoke Hindi better and experiencing a lack of control over the progress of our projects. Hopefully things will have picked up a bit more by our next post—and at least the weather has cooled down a bit with the monsoons on their way!
Here are a few random pictures I have taken here–the last is of a man taking a reading of the Solid Nonfats in milk at one of the SPS-sponsored milk cooperatives in the area.