Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bussing to Nowhere

As I type this, I should be on a bus heading back to my village (Bhorugram)....but I'm not, thanks to India's ridiculously confusing bus system. For those non-hindi readers out there, you pretty much have to rely on the kindness of strangers to help you get to where you're going....because all schedules and destinations are posted only in Hindi.

So basically, this is my story.I left my trainee guesthouse in Jaipur at 6:45 this morning and caught a rickshaw to the main bus depot. Upon arrival, I tried talking to 2 ticket agents, both of which insisted on speaking to me in Hindi, even though they understood exactly what I was saying in English. But finally, on my third try, I found someone who was wiling to help me out. The conversation went something like this.

Me - "Kya bus jao Rajgarh hai" (very broken hindi translating to "What bus is go Rajgarh"
Him - "Rajgarh mummble mummble leaves at 7:35"
Me - "Thike" (Ok)

So I bought my ticket for a whopping 2 dollars, and got on the bus. About an hour into the ride, I noticed the shadows of the trees were pointing the wrong way......we were headed east.....and I knew I was supposed to be going north. Faaaaack. I knew that ticket was too cheap. Another hour later, we came to our first stop where I got off, and hopped on a bus headed straight back to where I came. But of course, that bus wasn't heading to the main bus depot, but rather some random bustand on the outskirts of the city. Thank god for rickshaws. Anyway, 6 hours and several dollars later I'm back where I started, a little wiser. Good thing my punctuality is unheard of in this country.....otherwise my bosses would be pretty pissed haha.

Work? What's that?

Wow it's been a while since I last posted. I'm gonna try to write as much as possible in the next 2 days to keep y'all up to date. So I guess I should start by talking about my "work".

Basically, work is kinda a joke. There is one computer with internet in our office, and about 10 people.....about 4 of which are working at any given point in time. Deadlines are more of a suggestion rather than a rule here, so it's pretty common for people to show up to work when they feel like it.....and finish assignments at their leisure.

As for me, I haven't really been assigned any work. I've been told to "document" everything I see in the field, but I don't really know what that means. There's absolutely no structure to my "assignment"....and to be honest, I'm not even sure they understand why I'm here.

Having said that, I plan on making the most out of my visit here. I've taken it upon myself to help write their annual report for next year, as well as gain some detailed knowledge about their grassroots projects.

If you were wondering, my daily routine looks kinda like this:

7:30 - Wake up in a pool of sweat, bathe in bucket water, and walk to the local private school for breakfast.

8:30 - Finish breakfast and head to the main office

9:00 - Read paper, if it's available, drink my first chai of the day, and wait to go to the field

10:00ish - Head out to a local village with our crazy civil engineer, Krishan....usually on the motorcycle, sometimes in the jeep (when the manager joins us)

12:00 - Eat at some random villager's house. Then spend the next 3 hours either napping in their bed or talking about how they want to come to Canada.

3:30 - Leave the villager's house, and do a few hours of work

5:30 - Run some errands in the "bigger village"

6:30 - Get home, shower

7:45 - Go to the cafeteria for dinner

10:30 - Chai with other interns and friends

11:30 - Bedtime