Friday, January 3, 2014

Day 5 - New Years Eve

Its 9:30 PM and of course the plumber just left.  Dr. Greaves says that you either love India or you hate it and I can see how Indian Standard Time could be a reason why some would hate it.   Another reason to hate it would be that having a hot shower seems to be a herculean feat.  Even so, I find myself loving it here.  Of course there are things I don’t love about India, but I, like Dr. Greaves, think India is amazing.  Still, I spend the majority of my time here being very confused and using vast amount of energy trying to understand, absorb, and learn cultural norms.  Things are so very different here in so many ways.  I’ve begun to appreciate that our interpreters are not only necessary for the language barrier, but in many other ways as well.  I have noticed how different they are with every person we meet with.  They know when and how to speak to different people based on cultural norms that I could only hope to scratch the surface of in my short time here.
New Year’s Eve was really nice.  The staff at the Palace made us a party, and decorated the room with glitzy streamers and laid the table with floating candles and decorations.  Jeyshrii (our translator) made us an ice cream cake, and even tied a metallic ribbon around the knife that she presented to Dr. Greaves to cut it.  After dinner we retired to the yoga room with champagne. 

Our translators joined us (but didn’t drink of course because they are Hindi). We danced a little Bangra, giggled about boys, and listened to music.  At the end of our countdown for New Years, Jeyshrii shook a sprite and sprayed it in the air with a gleeful girlish look of mischief. Us girls from the US sipped on bubbly with pomegranates floating in it, swapped stories and peer pressured each other to stay awake to midnight.  It was difficult but the Bangra helped. 
We obviously took the morning off from Yoga today. I took the opportunity to face time with Josh and the Padres.  I got an unusual pang of homesickness when I saw the faces of my friends at home; tears rolling down my chilled cheeks in the cool morning air.  It was bizarre to hear Josh explain to people at a party that I was at a palace in India instead of home with him.  Yup, still pinching myself that I’m here.
After our slow start we had a busy day.  While Dr. Greaves went to an informative meeting with the head of an NGO in Ahmedabad, we interviewed a health official.  He denied any prevalence of DV and the need to do anything about it.  It was the strangest meeting.  People were in and out and at one point two men came in to hand out religious brochures of some kind.  He seemed unimpressed by our group of women, and did not seem to feel a great urgency to help us out. We also visited a midwife who worked and lived in a compound.  As her husband reviewed the consent form and consented to have her sign it as we sat on benches that bordered the room.  She took a cloth carpet from a couch and unfurled it onto the tiled floor.  Jeyshrii (our translator) and she sat down for what turned out to be a pretty useless interview.  She claimed to have never seen a case of DV in her 24 years of being a midwife. Later, after we thought we were in the clear, we learned we had a meeting with a lawyer.  I stayed at the Palace to work on our Literature Review with Sarah, but the interview seemed to be informative and interesting.  He takes about 10 cases a year.  Unlike the US where the goal of a DV case would be to put the perp in jail for assault, the goal in India is “compromise.”  This often means divorce and cases which can take ten years to finish.
Tomorrow we meet with 9 midwives for focus groups which we are all really excited about.  Enjoy this picture of what we had for lunch today! I have no idea what anything is called, and they do say a picture is worth a thousand words.

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and enjoyed a mostly hangover free day! 

1 comment:

Ann Behar said...

The food looks so delicious! Is there any comparison to the Indian food we eat in the U.S., or is it totally different.