So I have arrived at my internship site and it is completely different from the life I was living in Jaipur it's really interesting to see the captivating difference of just 400km.
I arrived Wednesday night and moved in with my host family right away. Things were great, my family is really wealthy. Our house is a haveli (mansion) the rooms have beautiful glass and mirror borders shaped like intricate flowers, the ceilings are crazy beautiful with levels to them, like a staircase, all the floors have marble inlay that is insane, there is a garden, 3 balconies, a beautiful view of the mountains... the list keeps going WONDERFUL set up.
My host mother is the financial counselor of Udiapur. This is really cool for several reasons:
1. I am always well fed.
2. There is an abundance of space.
3. I get to go to super cool things meet really amazing people, and have a totally different experience.
4. I stay in a beautiful house.
The first day was odd but this can be expected with any host family the first couple days.
I began my homestay with chai, crackers and conversing with my host mother, and her mother. We then went to her in-laws to cook dinner because the mother-in-law had surgery on her hand and is unable to cook. After dinner I fell asleep soundly... next to my host mom in her bed.
I felt very uncomfortable with the situation but was unable to do anything. Privacy here is non-existent so I was very unsure of what to do.
The next morning we woke up at 5am to go for a walk. It was a long walk but none the less it was beautiful. We got to see some of the beautiful lakes of Udiapur and explore the local area. After the walk I was served breakfast and chai and then prepared to start my internship with Sadhna.
Sadhna is everything I wanted and more. It is a wonderful organization and everyone is going to hear about it... A LOT in my blog because I am going to be working with it ALL THE TIME!
Sadhna was started in 1988 but a women who wanted to help village ladies out who did not have a source of income. Now it is a developing business that promotes economic independence for women, while also providing them with services that are helpful for their growth.
They provide healthcare, scholarships, micro loans, job security, income, travel experience, vocational training, amongst other things to help women in need.
The products they sell are really high quality and sooo sooo soooo WOW beautiful.
The first day of our internship we went to Seva Mandir (the main organization that built Sadhna) to meet our boss Madhu, Madhu had nothing much planned for us and told us to check out the shop and begin to think of a plan for international marketing. We checked out the store, the tourist shop, their factory and then were told that our main job would be marketing their products to American companies in any way possible. We were told to meet up again the next day at 9:45am and consider what we wanted out of the internship.
Basically Lydia ( my co-intern) and I shopped in Sadhna all day. We looked at every single product, and ripped it apart as if we were companies looking to buy their products. We tried to consider what would sell in the US, what people are currently interested in and what stores these products would work well with.
We developed questions for the staff, made suggestions, talked about our concerns, and what we liked about the program to talk to Madhu about when we met her.
TURNS OUT!!!! THATS WHAT SHE WANTED!!! We did something right. She was really pleased with our comments and seemed excited about the potential of our internships.
Then she told us 'the news'... most people in MSID have internships that require office work, labor work, actual sit down with staff work....
NOT US!!! :S
Madhu told us to check in with her once a week, she just wants us to market the products, share with people the awesome-ness of Sadhna. At first Lydia and I felt a little disappointed, what now?!? We split for the day and agreed to meet up the next day with our thinking caps on at the local cafe.
We did just that, we had tons of ideas and the more we talked the more we realized we had our work cut out for us, the nice part is that the internship is super flexible, so traveling, sightseeing, amongst other things that take up a lot of time were TOTALLY possible.
We can do our job from anywhere, which is really nice.
Since then I have been doing a lot with my host mother. It started off weird but has turned out to be really great.
The other night she took me to this really cute school for village girls, where they had a feast for the full moons arrival. All the girls were really excited to meet me and were constantly staring at me and asking me the same questions over and over.
Whats your name?
How old are you?
It was an amazing experience to meet the young girls and some of them were really great at English. The dinner was a lot of fun and we got to meet a lot of high-up people.
I would love to go back to the school and meet the girls again, they were so excited to see me. They all had huge smiles painted on their faces, it was so cute!
THEN! Today was o god! My host mother told me that we were going to some auditions for the Diwali holiday next week... turns out I am singing in the auditions, I was asked to sing my national song, dance and introduce myself to the city of Udiapur, they told me to look in the paper because I was going to be in it today.
My worst fear: singing in front of people. There are few people in my life I sing in front of, hundreds of people I don't know is the most terrifying thing I think I have ever done....
I was so embarrassed, I was sweating buckets, messing up all the lyrics, introducing myself wrong, tripping all over myself it was terrible and that is why I will never again sing in front of that large of a group of people again!
I lived through it though and am here to tell the story.
I have been doing some things I have really wanted to do but haven't had the time... like running, reading books of my choice, etc.
It feels good to be able to travel around here and not be so hectic with time, it is very relaxed here. There are lots of interns in Udiapur, in fact just the other night I went to a dinner where I met a lot of the interns here.
It was so cool. Evidentially every Saturday night interns are invited to this persons house who cooks a meal and has everyone hang out on his roof. This allows the interns to get together chat about whats going on, who is doing what and make some new friends. I went and had a wonderful time.
I think thats the important things that have happened thus far.
Check out Sadhnas stuff in their catalog soon to be redone by Lydia and I.