Arrival

July 27th, 2007

Rickshaws, goats, people, scooters, camels, cows, bikes, people, peacocks, lizards, buses, people. The sights and sounds of the utter chaos that is Ashram Road (and pretty much all other roads in Ahmedabad) met me as I was riding back from the airport at six in the morning on Monday. I left Boston Saturday evening, met up with my mom during the layover in Amsterdam, and reached Mumbai Sunday night. We had to spend the night in the Mumbai airport for our early morning flight to Ahmedabad on Monday. Needless to say, I was severely jetlagged when I reached my grandparents house.

The first day consisted of eating, napping, and visits from a wide assortment of my parents’ friends and relatives. My grandparents have a flat in Ahmedabad near Paldi (“Anjli chaar rastaa” is what I tell rickshaw drivers), and one of my cousins currently lives with them. My mother was planning on visiting them, and flew over with me. Any arrival of people who live in America is met with either a phone call or a visit from all of my mother’s extended family within the following two days.

I had increasingly been in contact with SEWA in the preceding couple of weeks, and I called them upon my arrival in Ahmedabad. I decided to come in the next day to meet with Reemaben Nanavaty, the Director of Rural and Economic Development, for my orientation. I learned that my direct supervisor would be Veenaben Sharma, the person in charge of the telemedicine program, as Ms. Nanavaty kind of seemed like a big deal. I would meet with Ms. Nanavaty weekly, however, to discuss weekly plans, etc.

Overall, I haven’t really gotten many details about my daily activities other than that I should ‘evaluate their telemedicine program.’ I am the only person charged with doing this, leaving me with the impression that this is going to be very open-ended. I’ve been briefed on the program in a little more detail, and I will probably sit down with Ms. Sharma tomorrow (Wednesday) to make my plans more concrete. They seem very willing to let me dig deep into their system and explore the situation in more detail. Sounds fun.

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