Tuesday, May 29th.
Today, after a presentation on PRS (Palluruthy Relief Settlement), we went to tour the establishment—we won’t be directly working with them, but it was a good opportunity to see GVI working with a project partner in action and what kinds of women’s empowerment projects are going on there. We saw women working with handlooms and making candles, and then sat in on a crafts project workshop—I spoke to a woman there in very broken Tamil for a little bit! After that was more training on the specific WIN (Women’s Initiative Network) project, which has a similar focus to PRS—we made signs and wrote objectives for time, home, money, and stress management. After another game of S**thead, Cheryl Martin (from DukeEngage Academy) stopped by for dinner at Kuppath, and then we traveled to Base for Bollywood dance. Our instructor was the ~famous~ Rambo Stanley, who had apparently starred in quite a few movies and was a villain in a few films. He taught us about half the moves to a Bollywood song (which I was eh at), and then basic self-defense training (which I kinda sucked at). Really excited for more project planning tomorrow! Oh, also we have a shoutouts and concerns box, and I got a shoutout today for my passion and proposal for percussion, which was really nice!
Wednesday, May 30th.
Today we began our planning for the stress management lesson plan for the WIN project—we decided upon an introduction, and overview of stress, and applications of ways to cope with it using both breathing exercises and an arts/music activity where women listen to music and draw what they’d like / how the music made them feel and then reflect on the activities at the end. I learned the importance of collaboration and not getting discouraged when ideas are disagreed upon or needed to be amended. Before this, we went to Base to sit in on Britfort (another women’s empowerment initiative that we will be working with tomorrow morning) and their lesson plan focusing on public safety and privacy for women. We regrouped to finish the WIN plan (which we will finalize tomorrow), had a debrief, and then went to a Tibetan place for dinner—lots of momos (dumplings!) and excellent spring rolls and Tibetan bread. Excited to visit Britfort in action tomorrow!
Thursday, May 31st.
The former part of today was spent at Britfort, where Arjun and I paired off mostly spoke to groups of men about various issues regarding women’s safety as per the lesson plan we looked over yesterday. We next had a presentation for ESSS (Ernakulum Social Service Society), in which we learned about their projects focused on health and well-being, stress management, and creativity. We began a lesson plan for health and well-being, in which we split off into groups to write separate plans for mental and physical health, respectively—excited to pilot a rhythm memory mental health game at the first session! After planning was a wee debrief (a weebrief, as Phoebe calls it), and then dinner by the hydration chefs (pizza and ice cream with lime soda!) and then HENNA! Henna was amazing with the artist that came in (I heard this was weekly and I really hope it is) and I’m really pleased with how it turned out! Ended the night watching an episode of Outlander with some friends (a TV show with the plot of a 1900s woman gets sent back in time to the 1700s) and almost forgetting to take my doxycycline for the day. Oh, also on the bus ride back from Britfort, all of us started dancing to “Everytime we Touch” (the basketball game song) and Phoebe and Tessa videoed it (and we performed live for Paul at hydration chef dinner).
Friday, June 1st.
It’s the end of our first week here! Today was pretty relaxed—we began with personal goal development and went on to a world issues group activity. After lunch we went to our weekly review workshop (based upon things we as a group should start, stop, and continue), finished up ESSS planning, had dinner and then Phoebe’s Pub Quiz! This was on questions related to high/low culture, music, Kanye West and Donald Trump, etc—though we didn’t win it was a fun time and I’m excited for next week’s quiz. Even more excited to visit Ernakulum this weekend!
Also, I’ve been sent some of the photos/videos GVI has taken so they’ll be uploaded shortly! More photos are viewable on our instagram (@dukeengagekochi2018).