Today, most of us woke up with a mixture or nerves and excitement. No longer would we spend the day completely together visiting different organizations-this early morning, we were going to pick which organization we would spend the rest of our time in India working with.
We sat down on the floor of our meeting room- where in the middle of the room Professor Talcott, in addition to the other organizers Sacha and Tanya, had fanned out pieces of paper each containing one of the NGOs we had visited. There was over twenty-five in all. We then had to go around putting our names on our top two organizations.
What is interesting about our group is that we are all coming in with different levels of experience and educational backgrounds. Therefore, as we sat in the room ready to pick one of the amazing organizations to work with, there was some apprehension that went along with the excitement because of the responsibility we were about to partake in, especially among some of us who haven’t had this type of experience before.
At the end of our meeting, most of us were able to pick our first or second choice and it was time for our initial meeting with our NGO to go over their needs and come up with a specific project that we would be able to complete within our alloted time. I think that this meeting revved most of us up to hurry to get to work and simply do the best we can.
For me personally, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that we are working within a Self-Help Group (SHG) framework. The key is to listen first, act second in ways that our NGOs can later carry on themselves. What we are doing is giving our skills to incredibly motivated, passionate and hard-working people who have so many odds against them, but are still able to make a powerful impact. We are helping them with their vision-not forcefully imposing our own.
A few days back when we were visiting Mohanam Cultural Center, the owner Balu informed us before we entered the building that the door-frames were made low purposefully so that in bowing our heads in order to enter, we would humble our spirits. I believe that this is one of the most important aspects while we’re with our NGO-to work humbly.