Next Steps

It’s a Wrap!

Once upon a time in July, I stumbled sweaty and confused into the AKRSP(I) head office with 2 giant suitcases and a serious case of heat stroke. I can’t believe 8 months is up, but March 14th marked my last official day of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s Fellowship program. What in the world have I been up to? Good question…for the last three months a whole lot of work, but I did squeeze in a lot of weekend vacations, hence the blog hiatus. The last and latest project I dedicated all my time to is interviewing all female staff at AKRSP(I) across three states of India in the hopes of understanding their experiences and establishing…

A workplace where both female and male employees:

–          Get a conducive and safe environment to work

–          Feel comfortable and positive about working with each other

–          Get equal opportunities for professional growth and development

Translation was often a challenge, but simply being present to hear female employee’s experiences was both important and an honour. We conducted 12 focus  group discussions across Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Bihar. It was eye-opening and I’m glad I pushed the research initiative from the start. There was a point in time when I was consistently traveling weekly for work, would reach home Friday evening, dump out the dirty clothes and laptop and toss in some clean t-shirts and my camera before catching an overnight bus for a weekend trip!

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Mumbai’s Victoria Station.
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Just before sunset in Mumbai.

Visa requirements also led to a four day out-of-country stint in Singapore, where I reunited with old friends and had all the bubble tea and dumplings my heart desired. In between that, I traveled to Mandu, Diu and Mumbai. Mandu remains one of my favourite places and trips in India (hence the January post), but Diu was also a crazy cultural and geographic clash I hope to write about soon now that my work responsibilities have wrapped up. When I was in Ahmedabad, which now feels like home, I took every opportunity to meet friends, cook meals together, and try to enjoy time outside. Rooftop chai blended into Bollywood movies, too much street food, and garden cafes.

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The best flatmates!
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(Classic Debs)

Despite the crazy work travel, I had time to celebrate two festivals in Ahmedabad with friends: Uttarayan (the kite festival) and Holi. Ahmedabad is becoming increasingly sleepy as the Spring heat rolls in, but Uttaryan and Holi brought everyone onto the streets, terraces, and pockets of green space to celebrate. Writing the post Ahmedabad Part I was one of my favourite blogs, and I hope to find time soon to write Part II. The last 4 months I relaxed into life in Ahmedabad – and will be devastated to leave.

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Playing holi in action.
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*Before my teeth got dyed red*

I promised some posts but I’ll be away from my laptop for an undetermined time, but definitely over a month. My flight back to Canada is scheduled in May, when I will be starting a coordinator position at the City of Victoria recreation. The next weeks are very planned/un-planned. Working towards my May deadline and fitting in other friend’s schedules, I just finished a week in Kerala with Sujit, and 3 weeks in Nepal to trek to Annapurna Base Camp with Ingrid (I really need to catch up on posts…). And after that, I’m open to ideas. With traveling for work and using every vacation possible, I have now traveled to 9 states in India. On the top of my list are the Northeast and West Bengal, and Himachal Pradesh (advice, tips, and travel buddies always appreciated).

If you’re in India, I hope to see you one more time before I leave, and if you’re in Canada I hope to see you during the summer. Stay in touch!

 

Liz

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