another Tamil Nadu trip

I have again just returned from Tamil Nadu. Seems that is the only time I write. I guess the reason might be that Mumbai seems too “normal” to me that i only find things to talk about when I get out of the city!
Again I was in TN for work, but as usual its always exciting! This time I was there for a conference/workshop that Dasra helped organize for a donor organization in the US. The theme was “Recovery & Renewal” bringing together organizations from all over the world. There were 6 countries represented – US (Hurricane Katrina), Thailand, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka (Indian Ocean Tsunami) and Pakistan (Earthquake). After 6 weeks of talking to all of these people online or on the phone, it was great to finally meet them in person. I was in charge of logistics which meant I was busy running from one place to another for most of the week, but it also enabled me to interact with people on a different level which was nice. It was great to see newcomers thoughts and feelings about India as well. I am too used to life here that I forget about the little silly things that are so different to others coming for the first time.
It was also a really moving experience — hearing the tales that each of these organizations had from their disaster. I, along with many other people, was quite shocked at how devasted the Katrina areas still are in the US. It is shocking to think that a developing country like India can get back to normal so quickly when the richest country in the world is still strugling to get back to normal. It was heartbreaking to be honest. I can definitely see how the people in Louisana and Mississippi feel like the rest of the country has ignored them. The are overwhelmingly poor (or so it seemed from the video we were show) and/or minorities.
I can’t really seem to put into words all that was said and experienced during the week, but I think for many people it was a once in a life time opportunity and I was extremely grateful to be part of it and part of making it a success. I have tons of photos that I will try to get to in the next week or so (before my next trip to TN!)!
And.. the countdown has begun… 6 more weeks until I get to the US. I am totally looking forward to it. I will be in Mumbai for 2 weeks, then to TN for 2 weeks, then back here for 2 weeks before heading off. Busy busy, but happy as can be!

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