Today has been incredibly busy and really great! We did field work for about 6 hours. We had a rough start with the car getting stuck in the sand and not being able to find 3 children at their houses, but we ended with 4.5 interviews, so I’m super happy about that. As I’ve mentioned, many of the children cry when they are getting their measurements taken, as if it hurts them or perhaps it’s because they are scared of me, I’m not sure. This morning a little girl would not stop crying and running away. I couldn’t believe what they gave her to calm her down so she would sit still long enough to get her measurements taken-a packet of mixed pickles! I, for one, hate pickles, but this was mixed pickles and she was eating it out of a packet similar to a ketchup packet. It was pretty funny, Bubu was telling me about it (it’s like a reddish color, which is even more weird), but he said kids love it. I can understand ice cream, but mixed pickles, that’s another story. And the thing is, a number of these kids eat ice cream and chocolates often, as they have access to them. She was so cute, when she finally calmed down, squirting that pickle paste and sharing it with her sister.
After being out in the field, we came back to the AIPH building and I did a bunch of data entry and work. Later this afternoon, Bigayalaxmi, the only girl that works here, took me to the mall and the market! It was a lot of fun. The mall was packed with men as they were watching a game on the one small screen T.V. I bought some fabric there. We walked out into the market. I was thinking that since this is one of their big markets, that it would be crazy packed and pretty dirty. It wasn’t at all; it was actually very calm and pretty clean. I bought some jewelry and had a chance to talk with Bijayalaxmi. Upon returning to AIPH, we walked over to the tailor.
I’m preparing for my trip to Rourkela on Monday night. We will be taking a 7 hour train ride during the night. I will be there till the 13th. I’m not sure what my accommodations will be, so I will compile a list of things to blog about if I do not have internet. I’m really liking Bhubaneswar and will be very sad to leave it.
The time passes by so quickly. Every morning I get up around 5:45. I talk and mingle with people in the building and eat breakfast. Today we left to do field work around 9:00 a.m. Most days we try to leave at 8:30. We were able to interview another 4. Yesterday, a strike occurred, luckily, I did not make it out into the field. However, the awesome field workers, Dr. Dileep Kumar Dalabehera and Shakti Pratihary (nickname Bubu) were able to get some interviews done. Have I mentioned how awesome these guys are?! It was another great, hot day in the field. Came back to the compound for a late lunch and did some data work. There are about 500 questions asked, so it takes hours to enter data. I think I am going to shop for some Indian clothing tonight so I am pretty excited about that!
I have been in India for over a week now and my sleeping is finally getting back to normal. Yesterday, I went out into the field again, we were able to interview 4. The third house we visited, we were placed inside a dark empty room with no window where we sat on the floor. Children and others gathered at the door leaving little room to breathe. It was hot and there were flies everywhere. In my shoes, on the floor, by my eyes. I wanted to tell the kids to move away from the door but didn’t have the heart to, instead I found their big red ball, that the little boy had been licking, and started to play catch with three little girls and the boy. It was a lot of fun and turned out to be one of the more enjoyable homes I’ve visited. I asked the little boy if he wanted to come with me and they all wanted me to stay :) It was very sweet. Today, I walked to the market down the street. It is super scary crossing the streets here. I held the guy’s hand, who was guiding me, like a little kid. After the market, I did laundry which took a long time. Articles of clothing are still drying. I then went to work on my project, started getting ready to analyze the data when I get home. A man from the Gates Foundation was here tonight and I had a chance to meet with him. Dr. Panigrahi presented over the history of AIPH. It’s been a good and productive weekend. I am ready to get back into the field tomorrow!
Yesterday and today were great days out in the field. This morning we met with three families. It amazes me seeing extended family all living together and helping out one another. Today, I walked into a shamble of a fort where at least twenty family members reside. The place was dirty, but cheerful. Though these people live off next to nothing (less than $200 a month for 6 people), they were hospitable and kind. Another thing that struck me about these villages I’ve seen is that they are colorful, a huge difference from the places I visited in Guinea and Liberia. A lot of the homes are painted red, yellow, green, etc.
Last night I attended the Konark Festival 2012 with Dr. Panigrahi; it was amazing! It was the last night of the festival that started with an Odissi Dance which was two twenty minute dances, one by women and one by men. The second act was Deepa Tharangini directed by Guru Smt. Manjula Ramaswamy, an acclaimed Nattuvagam artist in India. These young girls were standing on balls with a candle on their head and two in their hand. They would then lift up their legs and pose, and then they would turn. It was absolutely spectacular. And the climax of the show was Ustad Zakir Hussain, a classical tabla artist, who now lives in the United States. He was unbelievable and it was amazing watching him. Last night he received the 2nd Guru Gangadhar Pradhan Lifetime Achievement Award. Unfortunately, my camera did not to it justice as it did not take good photos, but I did capture some video. I am unable to post them to this site as they are too large of files. The concert took place at he Konark Natya Mandap located in the midst of casuarinas and cashew trees on a sand dune. It is a replica of the Natyashala of Sun Temple of Konark (which some say is the 8th wonder and is located 1 km away).
Today, seven of us went to a village called Nagapur, about a half hour from where I am staying. It went very well. We interviewed two mothers of male children. Oh boy, were they cute! And also, afraid of me. I am looking forward to continuing tomorrow. Below are some photos from today.
This morning when I met with Dr. Panigrahi, he told me that he came to my room last night. The day before he had told me that at midnight, for the holiday, someone climbs to the top of the temple. He is given land for this and his only job, once a year, is to climb the temple for the celebration. People fast until then. Unfortunately, I had my headphones on and was reading a book, so I didn’t hear him come to get me to go watch. Ugh, that would have been awesome to see! I was a little disappointed, but today has been great. Met with Bijay who I will be working close with, especially when Dr. Panigrahi leaves. We are hoping to put on a training session for the field workers to go over the questionnaires. I’m looking forward to that. This morning I went on a quick walk to check out my surroundings. It was dusty and reminded me a lot of the walk I used to take to school when I lived in Liberia. A man who works here walked with me; he didn’t speak any English. He took me to a grocery store. They had Hershey’s chocolate and oreos and some ice creams and chips! I will definitely be going back there. Everyone told me that I could buy things over here like shampoos and soaps and etc. cheaper, but I packed everything. I guess that’s the preparedness in me. Dr. Pangrahi told me about a concert the 23rd. It’s with an Indian man who now lives in LA and comes here only once a year to perform. Dr. Pangrahi has seen him before so hopefully we can go to that.
This morning I got to meet Dr. Satpathy, my preceptor here at AIPH. Dr. Panigrahi held a meeting where I met a lot of the field workers, etc. The meeting went well; we discussed how we would get started in the next couple of days. I went to the hospital this afternoon; it was very interesting-I guess I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t get a chance to take pictures, I was only there for an hour or so to figure out where our study IDs were located (different sectors). I’m excited to get started going to the villages! It has been a great day, though I still haven’t gotten used to the time change. I will be going to be early tonight. I’m being fed well and taken care of. AIPH is super hospitable. Dr. Margalit was right when she said they will not let me do anything. I try to take my tray after I am done eating to the kitchen, even if I am half way there, the building “manager” makes me take it back to the table so he can take care of it. He is very nice and always smiles! Sorry if I have not gotten back to you via internet, the internet is not the best here, but I have no complaints! Hope you all are well