Monday, September 20, 2010

Strikes, Holidays and difficult conversations

I apologize for the lack of blog posts. I could take the easy way out and say that I have been super busy but I don't think that would necessarily be true. I will be posting more regularly from here on out. First, I would like to say thank you to everyone who is following my blog. Both those who have registered and are "Followers" and those who are just reading it but have not signed up. For those who are interested and have not yet done so you can sign up to "follow" the blog which will give you access to leave comments and questions. I want to say a special thank you to all those who have left comments and I hope that on some of the more serious and intellectual blogs (not just the travel/daily life updates) the comment section can foster some good discussion and conversation.

Now for the daily life update:

I am continuing to adjust to life here at CMS College. It is being slowed by the continuation of strikes and holidays that are breaking up the normal routine here. There was a strike again yesterday, a holiday today, and there will be another strike tomorrow. This, coupled with the fact that on Thursday I will be leaving to meet up with Thomas John and my fellow volunteers for our first retreat/catch-up, has meant that I have not experienced a "normal" week here yet. For those unaware the strikes are being lead by the student government parties who are upset at the administrations decision to use parliamentary style elections as opposed to the desired presidential elections. A few months ago CMS was making headlines throughout India because of vandalism and riots surrounding the suspension of the SFI leader (the majority party) here on campus.

Although the strikes are happening students and faculty still seem to be in good spirits and I spend a lot of my day outside talking to various different groups of students and faculty. In talking to students I have realized that male students feel more comfortable and at ease in coming up and talking to me. Therefore, I have partnered with the Communicative English department to create a "formal-informal" time for groups of girls to come talk to me. These take place during the students free periods and lunch time. So far several groups of girls have come and chatted with me and have highlighted the importance of such interactions. They are happy to be using the English they have learned in a conversational setting because many of them have learned some English but have no means of using or practicing it. Additionally, they told me that if they were to come up to me individually when they saw me on campus the male students, especially those who cannot speak English, would ridicule them and make fun of them. So, for the time being it seems as if my solution is working.

Apart from this I will be giving a lecture in a weeks time on the current financial crisis focusing on its impacts in the United States. So, for all those who like to send Op-Ed pieces or Letters to the Editor... here is your chance! If you would like to weigh in on this subject leave a comment at the end of this blog! It just might make it into an Economics lecture at CMS College!

I am always learning new facts and trying to remember the dozens of names and faces that I come in contact with. It is exhausting having conversations all the time everyday with people who don't share a common first language as you. I started my formal Malayalam lessons yesterday and I am hoping that I can start putting to use what I am learning. Perhaps this will make communication a bit easier... but then again I'm sure their English will still be much better than my Malayalam.

Hope all is well state-side and around the world! Shout out to my fellow YAVs reading this... GOOD SELF CARE!!! You will all be hearing from me soon.


  1. Glad to hear you're doing well.

    Im sure that in the next two years, you'll have a "normal" week. Where's the retreat?

  2. I know that you know that lack of routine does not need to equal lack of purpose, and it seems like your are managing to fill some of your time with purposeful stuff. I hope you'll take time often to describe what you've been seeing, hearing, experiencing, and to reflect upon these.

    I am working to find something profound about the effects of the economic crisis on the US, but all I can think of is that many who are complaining bitterly about having to be austere are those who have so much more than their peers in the US, and so very much more than their peers around the globe. I include myself in this, of course.

  3. GOOD SELF CARE! Miss you Jim! You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    In Christ,

  4. I am follower of your blog.I like your post a lot.You post very interesting things and the way you describe them make those even better to understand.Stirke seems very normal for CMC which lead to holidays but now student really have to study hard.
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