Saturday, August 25, 2007

Life in Sangam

So I realized that I have been here at Sangam for 3 months and I haven't really talked about what I do and what happens during events. So since I only have 1 event left before I'm finished, I'll tell you all about it.

A few days before an event, we start to prepare. The one job that I have been doing every event is preparing the event books. This means that I'm best friends with the copy machine. I talk to her (the copy machine) and she works for me most of the time. Which is good considering that it is monsoon and the humidity is always high and the copier doesn't like sticky, wet paper. When people start arriving, which is usually 1 or 2 days before the event starts, we greet people. That means if they are arriving by the train station, bus station, or airport, we go and pick them up and take them back to Sangam by rickshaw. Other groups choose to fly into Mumbai and then hire a bus to drive them here, which makes my job a whole lot easier because I don't have to leave to greet them. When participants arrive, we show them around the Centre so they are immediately comfortable in their home away from home.

During the event we have basic sessions that we do no matter what the theme of the event. These include: Walk around the Neighborhood, Sangam Tour, Event Orientation, Coming Together (where the local staff comes and introduces themselves to the participants), Getting to Know You (icebreakers for participants), Welcome Ceremony, Laxmi Road or MG Road Tour (shopping!!!), International Evening, Yoga, Bollywood Dancing, a Bollywood Movie, Indian Afternoon, Maharastrian Dinner, and Closing Ceremony. Then there are more sessions that focus on the event theme. For example, the event that is going on right now is called "Action in the Community." It focuses on volunteering and working with different Community Partners. We have been going to 4 different Community Partners and doing everything from painting wall murals, to playing games, to making teaching aides. We are doing what they have requested that they would like done. It has been really fun but it has been really long and tiring. As a Programme Assistant, I help lead or assist with different sessions. Most of the sessions we all have to help with, especially if we have 50 participants, and others we do because they are our favorite things. I really like leading Bollywood dance and the Bollywood movie. When you are in charge of the Bollywood film, that means that you get to pick which film you want the group to see. It's pretty much the best job ever.

At the end of the event, we are in charge of seeing participants off. We take them to the train station, bus station, airport, or see them off by car. It is always a busy 7, 10, or 12 days but they are always fun and exciting.

To check out more information about the other staff here at Sangam or what a typical day is like here at Sangam, check out the links below.

Hope that everyone is having a great start to the school year.

ps: I'm going to see the Taj Mahal next week! I can't wait!

More Pictures!!!!

So the broadband is finally fixed!!!! (At least for now!) So I'll post some more pictures.

Julie, Mary T, and I went on a mini-vacation to Splendour Country, which is a resort that is about an hour from Sangam, just south of Pune.

The view from above the pool.

Me, Dwight, and Julie at the pool.

Phule Market, in Pune.

Me with some girls from Ishwari, a Community Partner of Sangam.

Me in my mosquito net. It is like camping in a tent every night!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mumbai...In Pictures

Last month we packed up and went to Mumbai for 2 days and 2 nights. We stayed at the Mumbai Scouts and Guides Headquarters where they have a few small rooms that act as a youth hostel for people. The room cost us 10 rupees a night and at the end of our visit, they didn't even make us pay that so it was a pretty cheap few days. Darshana, who is the Deputy World Centre Manager, is from Mumbai and took us and showed us all around the city. It was a great few days!

An elephant hanging out in the streets!

A proper Mumbai taxi.

The Lion's Club is everywhere! We stayed at a hostel that was right beside this park.

All of us enjoying franki, sort of an Indian taco, in the car!

Dwight at the Gateway of India.

Me at the Gateway of India.

Chowpatty Beach.

Me enjoying a chocolate muffin at Barista, which was right across the road from our hostel.

A temple that is on Al Qaeda's hitlist. Because of that, there is tons of security and you aren't supposed to take pictures but of course, I couldn't resist. This was the first thing that we learned and saw in Mumbai. Our driver Jimmy told us about the hit list thing and I knew that it was going to be a great tour of the city during the next few days.

Julie and me at the Mosque in the Sea.

We went at low tide. We really wanted to go at high tide but our driver wouldn't let us because it would have been too dangerous even though we all know how to swim.

The dhobi ghats.

The Taj Mahal Hotel.

Julie and me at Bandara Beach, where all the Bollywood stars live. It was my idea to go and see where all the stars live and we got to and it was fantastic!!!

My first package from home!!!! My trip got even better since my first package at home was waiting for me at the Centre when I got back!

My package when I opened it!!!! The Goldfish crackers didn't fair so well although they were still crunchy and not soggy!!!!

And for the last picture. This is Mangesh, our night watchman, with proof that the "mice" around here are more the size of rats. You can roughly see the outline of the rat in the cage.