Friday, June 14, 2013

Only one more week with Pratham!

I have just finished a 17 hour train journey back from Delhi... and im exhausted. 

This past week has been a challenging, and frustrating one, but also one where I have learned some good lessons. On Monday I got to office a little early like I usually do to read online articles for my research and couldn't find the word document where I had been keeping all of my notes. It just wasn't there and all the carefully saved weblinks, and bullet pointed facts in addition to the phone numbers and contacts I had carefully saved were all gone. I did everything to try and recover the file, but my computer just said it couldn't open the encrypted document. Like everyone does in this situation, I beat myself over the head for not saving my work in an online google doc or backing it up through email. But also like everyone knows, this never helps the situation. Instead, I took a deep breath dove into office work and decided to start again tomorrow. Thankfully the day got much better when my colleague, Pratyush, called my name and handed me a large stack of completed surveys that I had given him the week before.  I had been struggling to get enough people to take my survey, not to mention a diverse crowd of people, and had asked my NGO if they could send my survey to members of their field staff including teachers, tutors, administrators etc. Many of them are not very highly educated and thus with the help of my friends in the office, I had translated the survey into Marathi, the local language in Maharashtra, and handed over 80 copies. I got back 75 copies that I will be able to add to the 20 or so that I will get from my online survey, the 30 or so that I will get from the office and the 25 or so that I got while harassing people in the mall. This news greatly improved my day and I tried to stay positive and remind myself that all the work I lost can be recovered.

I didn't have much time to start on the research again the following day because my team and I prepared to leave for Delhi. We were getting on the train that night and would arrive in Delhi the next day in the afternoon. My NGO graciously paid for my train ticket because it was a work trip, and I quickly prepared the Delhi surveys that I hoped to get filled out while I was visiting the Pratham, Delhi office. The 3 day trip was a success and I returned home with about 30 Delhi surveys filled out and a lot more knowledge about interoffice politics. Throughout this entire month working with Pratham I have learned some valuable skills when it comes to working with other colleagues, especially ones who are older and more experienced. I have also observed how toxic a disliked member can be for the rest of the team. I have loved getting to know the colleagues in my office in Mumbai, and their passion for what they do inspires me everyday.  Even though I haven't been able to get out into the field as much as I would have liked, I have made the most of my time in the office. Below is a picture of me with my colleagues after we all went out for lunch.

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