Week 9

INTERNSHIP:

This week at my internship I went to the Childline Call Center (CCC) for a site visit. The CCC is open 24/7 and has three shifts to accommodate around the clock access for clients. 25% of the calls that are made to the CCC require an intervention, and about 90,000 calls are made per quarter, nationally. They are able to direct the calls made to the CCC to a representative that speaks the language of the caller whether it is Hindi, English, local languages, etc. Calls are monitored and are no less than 45 seconds. If calls are less than 45 seconds phone operators are written up for not following the pre-determined script for any scenario someone may be calling. Categories include but are not limited to: child labor, child marriage, donating food, silent calls, etc. The call operators enter information into their computer pertaining to demographics of child of inquiry, as well as the issue at hand. If the call is deemed to need an intervention, a Childline staff will go out to the children within in an hour. If a call is deemed not needing an intervention all information is still documents and given a case number. The call operators are MSW level employees.

TOURSITY THINGSIMG_3388

This past weekend I want to Fort Kochin, Kerala. They have a fishing system that originated in the 14th century that is basically a pulley system to catch fish with a huge net held together by four long logs. These pullies take a few men to operate one.

 

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I visited a government funded daycare in a small village outside of Fort Kochin. It cares for children from 0-5 years old and the government provides free lunches to the children. When I visited the children were playing outside and there were about 3 women providing supervision. The daycare and village were both located on an island, and until 6 years ago the only way to get off the island was by boat. There wasn’t a bridge connecting the island that the village was living on to the rest of Kochin. Before the bridge was completed, the village used a boat to get around and to different parts of Kochin.

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Week 8

Something unrelated to my internship but still interesting all the same, I think, is the discussion about identity. It seems that as a human species, identity is one of the most important things we strive to achieve whether it’s a job title, nationality, education level, “mom,” etc. I think people strive for an identity which is most apparent in Western, individualist culture, in finding “who they are.” It’s also interesting how we identify ourselves changes depending on the context. One’s identity is based on the context of which they are referring to. For example, in the United States, if someone asks me what my heritage is I would state Irish, French, and German. But in India, or anywhere else abroad, I’m “Western” or American. Similarly, one of my roommates who is from the Czech Republic stated that when she is home in the Czech Republic, she identifies as Slovakian because when she was born her country was still Czechoslovakia and and split shortly after she was born. But, when she is in India, she stated she identifies as purely Czech because that is the country that she lives in.

In the context of India, I speculate identity becomes even more engrained in a person’s self-worth when discussing the culture of the caste system and what that means for that person. Also, how people identify with the state they’re from, the region, their village, and “root,” in addition to their specific caste. As a result of these things, Indians are often forced to stay within the confines of certain societal limitations specifically when talking about marriages. On a global scale, generally, ones’ identity determines their livelihood, economic status, and general life path. I think it’s important to be aware of how identify our self and what the circumstances are surrounding our definition of ourselves.

INTERNSHIP:

This week at my internship I began gathering qualitative data by interviewing Childline care coordinators about the repatriation process. I asked the following questions:

  1. What does “counseling” a family after repatriation mean?
  2. Does the structure of your counseling session stay the same with each family, or does it vary on a case-by-case basis?
  3. What are the main topics discussed during a typical counseling session?
  4. Is the whole family household present during the counseling session?
  5. Does the likelihood of a child running away from home decrease after the repatriation process is completed by a Childline Staff?
  6. Are you familiar with any clinical, evidence-based interventions? If so, which ones?

The goal of the interviews was to learn about the extent of care coordinators’ knowledge of clinical interventions and implementation to families. During the repatriation process, a Childline staff will provide counseling to the families to ensure that parents understand how to maintain an appropriate household for the children, as well as decrease the likelihood of the children running away again. Based on my initial literature review, professional social work is new and overall lacks accreditation and formal structures for implementation. This is what struck my interest in learning about the counseling implementation provided to families. I will complete the interviews by next week.

 

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Week 7

FIELD PLACEMENT

This past week I went on a site visit to a residential home for boys give to 15 years of age. The home houses around 50-60 males ages five to 15 years of age. The home has 12 beds from six bunk beds. The other children sleep on thin mattresses on the floor throughout the residential home. The residential home provides meals, medical treatment, education linkages, mental health counseling, and a sIMG_2992afe environment. I think it’s wonderful that the children can either be referred by the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) or they can walk from the street and admit themselves. Usually children stay at the residential home about 2 years but it is considered a temporary residential home because the home is constantly working towards placing the child back home with his biological family and adoptions placement. The residential home will have parent visitations on Sundays. There is staff at the residential home 24 hours, seven days a week. The sleeping conditions are different from what’s appropriate based on my Western perspective, but it is definitely better and more safe than the children sleeping unprotected on the streets. The pictures are of a mural within the residential home that the children painted, a daily schedule for the residential home, and the plaque with the IMG_2997home’s accreditation and name.

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TOURISTY THINGS

I also visited Jaipur, Rajasthan this weekend and visited a textile mill where they make different fabrics, carpets and cloth items. They have a printing process with stamps and can use anywhere from two to six stamps for a pattern depending on how elaborate they want to make the cloth. The stamps are pressed one layer at a time. In the photo, there are two people pressing two different stamps on one cloth. The other picture is of a man making a rug with an ornate pattern. It takes weeks for the rug to be completed.IMG_3151IMG_3154

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Week 6

Conference

I have yet to go on anymore site visits at my internship. I think the bureaucracy at in India is just a great deal slower, and I’m trying to be patient and persistent. Hopefully next week.

I did go to a conference this past week that involved the Juvenile Justice Committee, Childline, Ministry of Women and Children, Child Protection Committee, etc., but when I arrived I was told the entire conference would be in Hindi. Since I was already there I sat and observed and it was interesting to see the formalities that were conducted. There was candle lighting that was completed by the speakers before the conference began. Also, the power went out in the middle of the conference, but turned back on shortly after. (Side note: I flew out of Goa last weekend back to Mumbai and the power also went out temporarily at the airport. This seems to a norm in India.)

At the conference there was something said about “child friendly police stations.” This was one the only things said in English but I immediately thought about the stereotype that the police are grossly corrupt in India. I just wonder how the bureaucracy of corruption within elite entities likes the police, interfere with development in general. Money is motivating, so if government and authoritative personnel are primarily serving the rich, why would they listen to non profits and human service organizations in trying to create non corrupt places? It’s an interesting conversation regarding how to get community buy-in for new initiatives.

Research

In the mean time I am conducting my research for my initial literature review. I will be focusing on the counselling provided to parents during the repatriation process of bringing the child home after they have been living on the street. In India mental health counselling is a relatively new concept as of the 1930’s and doesn’t have a formal structure as it does in Western Cultures. It’s been interesting to read various scholarly articles on the issue because the question becomes, “is formalized mental health counselling appropriate for Indian culture?” India, being a collectivist society, doesn’t seek help for things, like emotional distress, outside of the family. If someone’s marriage is in trouble, the family intervenes first. If someone is having signs of depression or emotional distress, they will see homeopathic doctor or an exorcist. The current trend is that middle class and upper middle class will seek counselling. This makes sense because counselling services are not covered by insurance, so only people with a certain level of affluence can afford the service. Childline’s counselling with the families is described as a “conversation,” that is structured on a case by case basis to meet the family’s needs. This is very client-centered, and I wonder if adding a clinically, empirically significant intervention would add to the repatriation process’ success.

For mental health counselling, the country is lacking accredited programs and licenses to specialize the field. India has the second highest rate of suicide next to China, so there is definitely a need for this service, which in turn means making the service readily available and empirically significant is important. Although, my thinking that it needs to be empirically relevant is probably largely a Western bias. My roommate made a good point when trying to convince me that homeopathic medicine is credible on its own without Western empirical support. She said that Western science cannot use Western scientific methods to prove or disprove a different science such as Eastern medicine. You can’t use a different science to measure a different science. Basically western medicine and eastern medicine are like apples to oranges. So of course if you try to use an apple to prove that an orange is red, you would find that that is not valid.

Speaking of homeopathic medicine, my roommates swear by it. My roommate said she once went to a healer for a headache and the healer said her headache was caused by something in her neck. The healer cracked my roommate’s neck and her headache was immediately gone. I’m still not opposed to Ibuprofen, but it’s interesting to consider when talking about clinical interventions for medical and mental health interventions. Maybe its mind over matter, or maybe there is something credible to Eastern medicine.

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Week 5

I am officially halfway through!

Fieldwork

I am beginning the empirical research component of my fieldwork. I will be focusing on counseling provided to families after a child is placed back in the home after running away. The next two weeks I will complete a literature review and narrow the scope of my research. As of right now, it doesn’t appear that there is an evidence-based intervention being used for the counseling provided to families after repatriation.  I am doing subsequent research on appropriate clinically significant interventions, that are evidence-based, that Childline staff can use as part of their repatriation process. I will also explicitly identify why this would be important to incorporate into their practice. It’s still early on in the fieldwork process, so we shall see what direction it goes into!

I did not go on any site visits this week due to my supervisor being out of town. After speaking with my supervisor on Friday, it appears I will be going to the Childline Call Center (CCC), Child Welfare Commitee (CWC), and the CCDT next week so see the other functionalities of the Childline system.

Jainism (pronounced ‘Jane-ism’):

I recently learned about India’s “Jainism,” which is a group of people who believe in non violence towards all living things. Most of India is vegetarian as it is, but “Jains” take vegetarianism to the next level by not eating any vegetables or fruits that are “hurt” during the harvesting process. So anything that has a root and is fully taken out of the ground when harvesting, like potatoes or garlic, they won’t eat. They will eat things like apples, for example, because you don’t destroy the entire crop by eating from it. I’m really bad with handling spicy foods, so my roommates said if you order something off of the “Jane” section of the menu, it won’t be spicy. Good to know!

Butter Festival

My roommate was telling me about the Dahi Handi (Butter Festival) that happens once a year. The festival IS meant to symbolize the story of the god, Krishna, when she stole a pot of butter. The festival is in August or September every year and pots of “curd,” or yogurt, are hung at very high heights throughout the city. People create human pyramids to try to break the butter pot. If they do, they earn a large sum of money. While people are climbing and trying to reach the pot, gallons of water are poured on the participants to try to make the climb more difficult. Participants are called, “govindas.”

There are a couple things that don’t sit well with me here. First, there is a water crisis in India, and most people don’t have access to water or run out of water regularly (my flat included), but this government-funded festival is wasting hundreds of gallons of water that could be used in alternative ways. Also, children, being lighter and smaller are often used in these festivals to get to the top. As a result, there was a high amount of child deaths resulting from this festival. Maharashtra banned children under 12 years old to participate in 2014, but to the extent the people abide by this is uncertain. Regardless, there continues to be an extremely high mortality rate associated with this festival. Also, the festival also doesn’t support the secular declaration of the Indian government, which is a bit hypocritical.

Medical:

I had to go to the clinic because I had been feeling sick for a few weeks and wanted to make sure it wasn’t something serious. The on-campus clinic was a female and she checked my tongue, blood pressure, poked my stomach, and asked about my symptoms. She said I had a “stomach virus” and gave me a prescription. I went to the pharmacy and was given the medication. The medication was taken out of the original packing and just given in the internal, silver packaging. Whatever they gave me, and whatever a “stomach virus” is, I feel a lot better so thankfully I don’t need to go home early!

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Week 4

First of all, I have taken public transportation and subways in London, Paris, San Francisco, Boston, NYC, etc., and no public transportation system has confused me more than the one in Mumbai. I can NOT figure out the bus systems and it confuses me to no end. I digress..

But more importantly, I was speaking with a domestic, 23-year-old, PHD student and she brought up marital relationships in Indian culture. She said that there are “love marriages” and “arranged marriages.” “Love marriages” are what we are familiar with in Western culture, but they are not the ideal in Indian culture. The student stated that a daughter’s marriage is determined based on what the family wants, not what the bride wants. “Love marriages” are seen as reckless and not for the benefit of the village or family. If a bride marries outside of her caste or village, she will be outcast or killed by the village. The student stated these killings are called “honor killings” and the village feel that it is serving the village’s best interest by killing the bride or groom who didn’t follow the tradition of marrying someone in their caste or village. The “honor killings” can happen at any time after the unwanted marriage. The student stated that the village members will even barge into the newlywed’s house, and take them to the center of the village square so everyone can witness the killing.

The student stated that parents will commonly put ads in the newspaper advertising their son or daughter for marriage, kind of like a Western dating site. For example, they will promote that their daughter is “homely,” which is an ideal wife, meaning they are going to cook, clean, and not question their husband. The student stated that most marriages happen between 18 and 20 years old, so when she graduates with her PHD at 29, she won’t be easily married off. The student stated that in some villages, an educated wife is preferred, but in most villages, an educated wife is not seen as valuable. Within each caste system there are also “roots,” in which people can not marry within. It’s kind of the equivalent of marrying your second cousin in Western culture. Sometimes parents will marry their children who are in the same “root” without realizing it, due to lack of proper documentation or birth certificates of residents, and then are subject to being outcast or an honor killing.

The student stated her parents got married with an arranged marriage at 12 and 15 years old. Present day, getting married at that age would be considered illegal under India’s Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006. I asked if she thought that her parents loved each other and she stated that if she asked her mother if she loved her father, her mother would look at her like she had 3 heads. The student stated love wasn’t something you talked about or was even a rational consideration when thinking about marriage. The point of marriage is for financial gain or status.

Tidbits about Mumbai:

-Rickshaw drivers wear either brown or white outfits. If they are in white, you know they own their rickshaw so they will be able to give you change if you need it, when you pay for your ride. If a rickshaw driver is wearing a brown uniform, they don’t own their rickshaw and are renting it from someone. They also don’t tend to have change for when you pay for you ride.

-A backwards swastika is written in Sanskrit  in Hinduism with the meaning to protect from evil and attract good.

-Some people or families who are street vendors, will sleep in a cocoon in a blanket, with the blanket over their head at night next to the street. I noticed this while attempting to take the bus to my internship last week. Mothers will sleep with their children in their blanket cocoon with them. It concerns me to think what they have to do during monsoon season to survive.

-On my way to my internship there is a lane of outdoor barber shops. There are about 4 ft by 7 foot spaces that line the street, one right after another, and I refer to this as “Barber Shop Lane.”

(The photo above was retrieved from Google on January 24, 2016)

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Measuring Poverty

On Friday I attended on conference on “Estimating Poverty” by Dr. Sanjay D. Reddy. It was amazing! The main theme was determining how to identify the crucial indicators for measuring the poverty line on a global scale. The problem is that the poverty line and the definition of poverty, in and of itself, is relative. The definition of poverty will never be absolute in nature, due to the contrasts in cultural characteristics around the world. The minimal means a person needs to survive should not be, but is, measured in a monetary sense. What about those who live off the grid or off of their land? The World Bank’s determinant of $3.10 per day does not apply to those families, and yet there is still a measurable line of poverty that they can face (The World Bank, 2015).

Dr. Reddy also spoke about how indicators are selected in regards to perceived need. As stated by Dr. Sanjay for example, within the United States’ Food Stamps program, the bare minimum for specifically food or sustenance needed in a monetary sense is $2.75 per day per person. This is determined based on recipes that fulfill recommended daily nutrients such as fats, carbs, proteins, etc. But, these daily allotments do not include other additional essentials to make the recommended meals such as the kitchen, utensils like pots, the electric to use a stove or microwave. I thought it was interesting he brought up the unnecessary allotments, but as he pointed out earlier in his talk, different regions of the world would need different things. For people living off the land, or do not live in a country where having electricity is a norm, their country’s version of Food Stamps would and should look structurally differently.

I think determining a poverty line needs a great deal of qualitative data to determine what quantitative data is necessary to measure. The qualitative data will provide a cultural context of perceived needs, characteristics, and identify a framework of how the individuals of that region live day to day. I propose that the World Bank should have regional supervision for each part of the world in order to determine the unique needs of each area. There shouldn’t be one poverty line to be used as the determinant for the entire world’s general population. The World Bank’s proposed $3.10 a day poverty line doesn’t translate in a general sense. For example, from an Indian context, specifically in the City of Mumbai, $3.10 in rupees’ equals 210.15 Rupees. As stated before, everything in relation to the definition of poverty is relative. What one can do with 210 Rupees in Mumbai is much more than what one can do in a city in the United States for $3.10. It’s like comparing apples to oranges, so the current standard of evaluating poverty does not suffice.

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Week 3

At my internship this week I met with the Communications Department and then with the Director of the Maharashtra Office later in the week. I was instructed to learn about the legislation that had promoted human rights in India. I was surprised to find out that a great deal were passed within the past 15 years. I think this shows that India is motivated at pushing child rights and that the country is making measurable progress. I believe if you support the people, the people will support the country. The progress shows that development is in process. I think the question is how to sustain the development being made? I think it is done by engaging the community with locally-based agencies like, Childline, who are able to continue to advocate and educate the public on their rights.

Recent human rights legislation includes:

Child Labour Act (1986)

Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (2006)

Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (2009)

Protection of Children from Sexual Acts (2012)

Juvenile Justice Act (2006) – which amends the original act in 2000.

I also was asking a coworker at Childline more about the details of child marriage in India. According to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act of 2006, a marriage is only legal if the woman is 18 years of age the man is at least 21 years of age. If the man and woman are younger than the specified age, everyone involved in the wedding including the guests, dance hall staff, the DJ, and anyone else who was a part of the illegal marriage will be jailed. Women who are a part of the illegal marriage will not be jailed because they are not seen as the decision maker in the household. India has a patriarchal society in which the man is seen as the sole decision maker, therefore women are not held responsible for their criminal actions or made to go to jail in this instance.

Also, in marriages in general, husbands have the right to change the FIRST and last name of their wife. In speaking with my coworker, she stated marriage is seen as a transaction, which the purpose is to gain or maintain status. People are expected by their village to marry within their religion, village, or caste. If they marry outside of their caste, village, or religion they are outcast or killed. In the Indian state, Gujurat there is a “Saota System” where two families will have their daughters marry into each others’ families, kind of like a trade-off. My coworker stated that the intent behind this “transaction” is to ensure that the daughters are taken care of appropriately and not abused or sexually harassed once they are married to the others’ family. If the daughter of one family is being abused by her married family, the daughter’s family can threaten to abuse or sexually harass the other family’s daughter as well. I thought this was interesting because it shows how prevalent the patriarchal ideal is, and the extremes families will go to make sure their daughters are not abused once they are married off.

The most common tradition of marriages is the dowry system where the bride will present a dowry in the form of money or more commonly, land. A less common tradition is an unsaid form of prostitution. The bride is married to the groom’s family, who in turn gives the bride’s family a token or land. My coworker said this is less common, but definable prostitution because it is completing a transaction by “selling” the daughter to a groom’s family.

This week has been very informative and interesting. I look forward to what I will learn next week as well. I was informed I will begin working in the “field” two days a week, and with administrators the other two days of my work week. See you next week!

Here are some pictures from my commute to my internship in the morning. Sorry they’re a bit blurry! The traffic is a little unpredictable in the morning in Mumbai!

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Week 2

It’s officially been two full weeks!

INTERNSHIP:

I started my internship at Childline this week and I’ll be working Monday through Thursday in an area of Mumbai called, Whorli. It’s a 1 to 2 hour commute one way depending on traffic, but I’m looking at it as an opportunity to take in the sights a bit. At my internship I’ve mostly just gone through orientation and established my role at the agency. I will be doing sight visits with the staff, as well as have the opportunity to travel with them to other states within India to shadow program evaluation and oversight of other locations. I’ll also be looking at their 2013-2014 annual report, and using their quantitative and qualitative data already gathered, to help identify how to target a larger audience for their service and innovate possible interventions to accomplish this.

At my internship this week we conducted a site visit at Childline’s Western Railway location. There were 3 staff working the kiosk, and they had a book for children to sign into when theyIMG_2353 seek help from them. The staff said they usually get 30-40 children per month who ask for help from this specific. Often times the children get off the Western Railway train and go to them for help to find work. Most commonly the children at this kiosk are running away from home, in which they would sign into the book as “Runaway.” Children run away for a multitude of reasons, but often times because there are, what the staff identified as, “family problems.” Sometimes, the kiosk will also get a call from a child asking for a help if they are facing domestic violence, homelessness, etc. While we were conducting the site visit, the kiosk got a report for a child who was in the train station. Two of the staff walked together over to the child. After a child signs in or asks foIMG_2348r help from the kiosk, the children will be seen by the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and then placed with services or in a residential facility.

 

 

 

I went to the Foreigner’s Registration Office (FRRO) on Tuesday. Foreigners need to register within 14 days of entering the country. After half a day, it finally was done. It was a good example of the language barrier. I asked probably 6 people where the office was, and after waiting in the wrong location for over 2 hours, finally was redirected to the right place. In India, cab drivers and general directions aren’t given with road names or like traditional “western” directions. Directions usually sound like “take a right and go down the road that goes through.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but these directions eventually got me to the FRRO building. The paperwork they gave you at the FRRO is what you need for them to allow you to exit the country when you fly home.

TOURISTY THINGS:

On the weekend I went to the Taj Mahal Hotel in Colaba, as well as the Sanjay Gandi National Park. At the park I went to the Khanheri Caves and on a tiger safari in the park. There was a Bollywood movie being filmed at the caves while I was visiting. That night I went to a French TISS student’s flat for a jam session. IIMG_2385t was so much fun and it felt good to sing again. My roommate, Olivia, was there as well and she is also in a band back home in Vienna. I told her about my band Rustic Radio and we showed each other our music, and jammed a bunch of covers which domestic and international students. It was such a good time!

Also, when I need a moment of peace from the chaos of Mumbai, there is a coffee shop down the road from my flat called “Barista.” Its air conditioned, so I’ll go buy a coffee and read my Paulo Coelho or Jodi Picoult book for a couple hours.

There are monkeys EVERYWHERE. They’re the American equivalent of squirrels in regards to how common they are. I heard from a student that you shouldn’t look them in the eye because they see it as a sign of aggression and they will attack you. I also heard that they can smell fear so you should stay calm when you’re around them. But, I’m not sure I believe they can smell fear. I walked 10 miles in the Sanjay Gandi National Park with a banana in my backpack. They can smell fear but not the banana? It’s an old wives’ tale if you ask me!!

We also commonly run out of water in our flat. It happens mostly during the evening. As a result, I’ve officially taken my first bucket shower, which is how most Indians bathe because they don’t have traditional plumbing. I honestly think bucket showers are under rated! It wasn’t so bad!

MUMBAI SNAPSHOT:IMG_2371

One of the major issues in Mumbai is the quality of housing. The majority of the those in Mumbai live in “slums” without running water or bathrooms. The nicer “neighborhoods” will share one public restroom facility with a women’s and men’s section. Some of the homes have electric, but they are directly on the street so often times you’ll see children playing very close to traffic and trash. During monsoon season it’s especially difficult for these families because their homes can’t stand up to the rain and weIMG_2146ather conditions.

There are people who beg on the streets for money, or will sell goods on the streets such as coloring books. A TISS student told me that the women who are holding sleeping babies will give their child alcohol to make them sleep so they look peaceful as they beg for money. Those begging don’t get to keep the money and they usually have to give it to who they report to. I was told to give them food instead of money because at least then they can eat it and use for themselves.

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Week 1

I have officially been here for 8 full days it had been a bit of a whirlwind. This city is chaotic, beautiful, confusing, and wonderful all at the same time. I am living at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in the Indian state, Maharashtra, within the area known as Chembur.

So far this past week, a part from getting familiar with the area and recovering from jet lag, I have been working on registering with the Foreigner’s Registration Office (FRRO), while also coordinating with Childline to begin my field placement this week. I’ve also acquired an Indian phone number for while I’m here because I will be working in the field and it will be important to stay in contact with my superiors during my internship.

My 3 roommates have been wonderful and have been helping me get my bearings of the area. Petra (Czech), Sofia (German), and Olivia (Austrian) are all studying at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences as well and have been here for a range of 4-6 months already. They have shown me the local markets for grocery shopping, helped me buy my first kurta (a traditional Indian shirt), navigate Airtel for my cell phone, and introduced me to rikshaw rides.

This city has the most beautiful and richest places I’ve ever seen, as well as the poorest. In one cab ride you can pass a 5 star Four Seasons, 38 floor hotel and then minutes later drive through a slum with blue tarps for roofs and tin for walls. Before coming here, I heard that there was an enormous gap between the poor and the rich, without a middle class. Now more than ever, I see how very true that is.

There is also a lot of pollution in the city. My roommates have warned me that my health may waiver if I’m not careful to cover my face with a scarf during rikshaw rides and while traveling. All the vehicles are diesel, and garbage is burned regularly in the city for disposal, so the city has a constant layer of smog over it.

I met with my field coordinator at ChildlinIMG_2264e yesterday and am looking forward to my field placement. I will be working directly in the slums with children and shadowing at the call center, as well as analyzing data pertaining to Childline’s program implementation.

Since I wasn’t working at my internship for my first week, I tried to fit in as much “touristy” things as I could. I went on a city tour of Mumbai with TISS and saw the Hanging Gardens, Haji Ali Dargah, and various museums and mosques. I went to the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal Hotel in Colaba. I also visited Bandra and took the train to the mall, Inorbit. I went to a common student bar by campus called, “Hot Spot.” The people at TISS are so nice, and it’s been fun learning about where everyone has come from. I’ve met students from France, Germany, Austria, and even a few from America.

Even though it’s only been a week, I already feel very comfortable and situated. Mumbai is my temporary home and I’m excited to see what the next 9 weeks bring!

The picture featured is of the mosque, Haji Ali Dargah on the Arabian Sea.

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