Readjusting to Kolkata23 Jun 2008, by Uncategorized in
June 11, 2008
After 6 weeks in the US, I finally flew back to my true home, Kolkata. Somehow the flight coming back was much longer than I have ever remembered it. Perhaps that was because my mind was racing in a thousand directions, trying to decide what were my "top priority" tasks to accomplish in the first few days. Since I’ve been gone, it’s been hard to know how all the programs are going, how the children are doing in school, how our product orders are coming, and if any new women have joined the shelters. Luckily, because of jetlag I was able to accomplish more than I should have in 3 days.
My first trip was to All Bengal Women’s Union, where the young women in their tailoring unit had finished their first order of baby dresses. I am personally proud of these teenagers because they had been a bit unsure of their ability to complete the order in time, but with some encouragement and support they finished all 90 dresses beautifully! (Check them out at our retail store or online).
Next up on the list was visiting Shelano, a group started by a Kiwi couple that employs women from the outlying slum areas to stitch handbags. They’ve created a sari tote, which is made from saris blockprinted at Sanlaap’s shelter home, then stitched in their center. It’s a wonderfully fashionable and socially conscious tote that everyone just loves, including the women who make them!
The next morning the children and teenagers in our school sponsorship program went on a fabulous outing to India’s largest mall to watch a film. They absolutely loved it, sitting in a big stadium, being served popcorn and coke, and singing along to the Hindi cartoon. Thank you to all the sponsors for your continued support!
Finally, I made it out to Sanlaap’s shelter home to go over our current product orders. Unfortunately, most of their production center is under renovation and there is no roof. This would normally be just a nuissance, but because of the rainy season it’s put quite a damper on all production. The women, however were very excited to see me and eager for the work. They have assured me that they will try their hardest to get everything done before the real rains start.
In between these long-awaited visits, I signed up for Hindi classes at the RamaKrishna Mission, found a new apartment, and re-opened my Indian bank account. Who says jetlag is a pain?