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Day 13

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There are so many things left to do, and we are running out of time! Yikes! Guess I’ll have to come back. That’s always how it goes though—never enough time to get everything accomplished because life isn’t linear. The learning never stops here at Shishur Sevay. The need for love and compassion also never stops. Things just keep on moving.

Today was an interesting day so far. I worked with the new volunteers showing them the SwitchIt program for the big mac button, showed them the picture cards I was in the process of making for the main room and the emotion cards I was also working on. I’m so happy that I think both of these projects will be done or nearly done before leaving! Thank goodness for enthusiastic, self-directing, intelligent, caring volunteers!!

Michelle and I spent some time today talking about the girls’ future and high level thoughts for where things are heading. It is nice to dialogue about this stuff. It is not being forgotten about. There are no easy answers, however.

Language barriers to my past or to India in general are so frustrating. I can read in people’s eyes that they are telling me something important, or that they care to share, or something I probably want to know, but I don’t understand it. You get this helpless feeling, and then you smile and nod. But, the truth of it is, do the words really make a difference or is it the love and the obvious compassion the massis and others have for us and about India? I don’t know. But, I hate that so much of this culture and this world is cut off to me because of the language barrier. It is a constant frustration.

Adoption is a funny thing. I don’t think I like the whole idea of buying a baby, or of a country exporting a societal problem that they don’t want to take the time to fix with education, civil rights and economic supports. But, I also get very sad when I think about what my life would have been like if I was not adopted. Would I have even lived this long? Probably not. I still don’t know where I stand on the international adoption issue. To me, domestic adoption is a totally different game, and for whatever reason it makes more sense to me.

I also think that I am inspired to learn a bit more about India. I know so little. I want to learn. The sense of honor, duty to others, these are very Bengali. I want to learn about the history of the caste system, about arranged marriages, about the colonization, about the various gods and goddesses of different religions, about the pathway for people with disabilities, about everything.

Maybe it's the academic in me, but there are so many things here that are worth exploring further--about identity development of orphans, about disability policy in developing nations, about training teachers/adults without relying on a strong first language or literacy foundation--all very challenging problems, but very important to day to day operations at a place like this. How do programs such as these sustain themselves? How do you develop a workforce in a population that is forbidden to work due to societal norms and traditions? I keep thinking back to the parents in the after school program for kids with disabilities, they were hungry for knowledge, and just needed the reassurance that there is hope and a future out there for their child, somehow.

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More to come later.

Seema and Anjali at Shishur Sevay

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