Today was such a wonderful day! Today was my first field visit of the slums. It wasn’t a total shock since these slums are formal slums, if that makes sense. They are considered “listed” slums and have a whole lot of life in them. From construction workers to street food sellers, to people chillen, to some biking, some sweeping and some sleeping. These communities have a whole lot going on in such small spaces but at the same time, large settlements. I was invited to attend a MAS meeting (Mahila Arogya Samiti) which stands for Women Health Organization. These women are women of these slums that get together to become educated by a Cluster Officer (a worker from our organization) on maternal and child health so that they can mobilize their own communities and educate the rest. There is a whole lot to it that I’m sure I will talk more about later. There can be discussions on the practicality of it, whether it works or not, etc. but for now, let me just tell you that I was in a room, perhaps a 7’x7’x room, with 16 other women. It was about 112 degrees fahrenheit but nonetheless, it was an awesome experience to sit in there and listen to their high energy discussions. I couldn’t understand most of it but when they laughed I laughed. They seriously thought I was Indian, speaking to me in hindi. Of course, I just smiled and nodded. I don’t know how they do it, sitting indian style for so long. My legs and feet totally fell asleep.
In the evening when we left the office, my amazing supervisor (who has been teaching me so much) invited me to her family home for dinner and tea. Yes, I jumped in the back of her two wheeler and yes, she brought an extra helmet for me….
And yes, we rode through the crazy streets of Jaipur. It was a 12km ride. SO much fun and so much to see. That itself could have made my day. I’m a sucker for adventure.
I spent the whole evening at my supervisor’s family home, where she lives with her joint family. It felt very nice to be there since she has many siblings and it made me feel close to home. We all chilled and just talked, kind of like I do when all my siblings are home. Best thing Everrr. They were so welcoming and taught me so much about Indian culture from their perspective. Such a nice family with a tiny grandmother like my own. When I met her I felt the urge to give her a hug. I asked if it was ok and she smiled and said yes. So cute! My supervisor’s mother was in the kitchen cooking a meal from scratch, using veggies from her garden. It was by far, the best meal I’ve had since I’ve been here. When i told them that, the mother smiled and said something in hindi. When translated I found out she had said, “of course, there was love put into this meal”….the same thing my Mami says 🙂