What an experience this has been! We are in our second day at RIWATCH and the weather in Arunachel Pradesh considerably differs than Delhi’s. It hasn’t stopped raining since we arrived but it’s so peaceful to sleep to at night, bundled up in mosquito net beds. I am absolutely fascinated by the 2 feet long earth worms roaming around the wet ground and the prevalence of leeches.
After our breakfast of fresh bananas and chai tea, we attended a lecture on the Challenges of Preserving Endangered Languages in Arunachal Pradesh. There are 35+ living tongues within the state and they are slowly dwindling due to a large gap between younger and older generations interest of preserving the unwritten script. First stop of the day was visiting the district hospital in Roing, hosted by the community gynecologist.
Dr. Pulu’s loyal passion to serve his community was inspirational despite his higher paying job opportunities. It was fascinating to learn medical services, medications, and vaccinations are free of charge due to the government funded hospital. Next we had the honor to meet an influential person within the AP community who was a member of parliment. He invited us into his ornate home greeting us with coffee and cake, or as Dr. Joshi would say, “Bollywood-themed”. The hospitality among India has exceeded my expectations. He spoke about his passion for education, employment, and the religions among India. It was interesting listening to his view points on the strengths and weaknesses of Arunachal as a community. He also described the secular religion as one of the nation’s strength, among the quantity of indigenous tribes.
We concluded the night with a curry and vegetable filled dinner, then headed to our cottages.
Reflections by Leah Abramoff:
Throughout the day we endeavored to broaden our knowledge on health and social challenges within the the Northeastern India communities. It has been a common theme along this trip to notate the similarities and differences of India and the USA. To understand the strengths and difficulties of each location has been my own personal mission as a way of understanding what India excels in as a means to incorporate a broader sense of what best practices could be when working with the population I work with back home. At this point, it was becoming clear that many people I spoke with considered the community bonds to be a great source of strength. To rely on their family and local communities as a place of positive support was many times reiterated through talking with individuals. As someone who works on a micro level within social work, being able to incorporate the community within interventions of the people I serve in a sense opened doors up within my mind on how to connect the community to the individual being served within the confines of the policies that rule how I provide services.