Now that my time is almost up here in India, the task of completing my work and training the new manager is under way. I am thankful that we have found someone to take my place since I was beginning to lose hope.
The new manager is coming from Jodhpur and is fluent in Hindi and Marwari, which makes her a huge asset in the crafts center, but she also has a background in design. The choice was between two women who have previously worked for a craft project in Jodhpur, one that is hired and another that had sales, computer, and teaching experience. My first opinion was to hire both part-time since they both had skills that would better the crafts center, but the Norwegian donor said “no” and the designer was chosen.
She has just arrived to the village this week and I have been showing her around the center and the village. Her English is not perfect but that is perfectly fine since she is a value to the center. The only concern I have with her English is the proficiency in which she will be able to send emails and continue on the business side of the center. In this case though, I hope and believe that Praduman will be available to help whenever is necessary. The other woman we wanted to hire may be hired for the non-profit that Praduman heads for the village development projects that the interns will be placed with this summer. I don’t think there is a need for short-term summer interns, but with so many coming to Jodhpur this summer, FSD just needed somewhere to put them. I have conversed on the issue with Praduman and recommended the interns being put to use by conducting training sessions in the village for cleanliness of the village and basic health care that may not be presented to the families. We will see how that works out, but I will be gone by that time.
Back to the manager, Reena, I have put together a long list of duties and suppliers so that she can have a hard copy in case I am not around while she is still learning. The hardest part for me was learning where to get materials needed for the center, but being that she is both Indian and a local of Jodhpur, she will not have near a difficult time as I did. The women have taken a liking to her already since her family comes from a small village not far from Chandelao and she speaks the local language. This is important for her so she can establish a relationship with the women before becoming immersed in the manager duties and having to over see them in a superior mode.
At the center, I went through the different products that the women make and together we picked out the products that we felt did not need to be made anymore or were not up to par with the quality that they women should be producing. I have done this before, but they do not seem to understand why I picked out things and would continue to relocate the items in the shop or keep making products that were not quality. I have explained my communication barriers to Reena and told her about the problems that I was not able to effectively communicate to the women and hopefully she will be able to use her skills and common language to better the production and knowledge of the women.
As for the rest of work, I have yet to complete the website that I have been trying to get uploaded since arriving in India. Most of the website is already designed and I have one more page to write about, but the issue has been the non-existent password for the Sunder Rang website domain that had to be found. I received and email from the president of Basecamp with the password on it and have not been able to get on the Norwegian domain page in order to see if the password works. I have just sent it to Sandy, a past volunteer who was here working for 6 weeks, to see if he can upload it from a better internet connection than what I get in the village with my data card. I have also been working on contacting and following up with the buyers from the trade show I attended with Praduman to work on marketing the hotel and get more business. This has been just diligently sending out emails for Praduman to the buyers who expressed interest and make sure to keep the hotel on their minds as they work on the next tourist season to unfold in the fall. Otherwise, most of my work just revolves around getting Reena ready to take over managerial duties for the crafts center.
I am really starting to feel the end of my time here although I still have a few weeks. Earlier on in my time, I would have laughed if someone said I would miss the village and miss India, but now I really don’t want to leave. I love my little life here, although I do want to leave the village. India, and Rajasthan especially, has become my new home and I can’t imagine leaving it so soon. But for now, I am not trying to think of goodbyes, because they will be very hard; I’m sure of it. Emily, my fellow intern, has finished her time up with FSD but is staying a bit longer in the country and I have decided to travel a bit with her since I have yet to visit Agra and the Taj Mahal, which must be done whilst in India. Praduman has expressed that the crafts center might be closed for part of the month since it will get very hot and there will be no orders or sales from tourists. This depends on the new manager as well though, so we will see how the next, and my last, few weeks go.