They have no idea what they want on their Web site. Subrat sits with us and makes these hilarious, endless numbered lists "Number one: How many pages will this Web site have?" Me: " I urge you not to think in pages." The office's one Christian, he proposed these absurd, religious titles for sections on the site, for example: "The unknown messiahs" and "Blessed are the merciful" and "Lessons unlearnt so far...."[sic]
In great effort to restrain my giggles, I suggested: How about calling that last section "Challenges" to which he retorted pompously: "but you must put' dot dot dot' after that title, otherwise it makes no sense!"
We decided to put up personal testimonies to enhance the storytelling aspect of the site. He thinks he can collect 16 interviews of volunteers and beneficiaries in one week. He is incredibly optimistic. He wants us to create the content and conduct interviews. I would love to if I had the time. But we are not here to create content. We are here to push pixels, goddamnit!
They want us to work 7-days a week. They want us to prolong our stay. the only thing to do here besides go to the internet cafe (there is no connection at the office) and to play badminton with the neighbourhood boys. My backhand needs a lot of work.
Downtown Bhubaneshwar is a stinky dark cesspool. This neighbourhood, at least, is quiet with its cows, dogs, lizards, stars, chai stands, and nightly blackouts.
Go back two entries and you can read about what they think of us walking around freely as women.
Quiet with the exception of the partially deaf house boy name Pramoud who blasts the Indian equivalent of Star Search every morning. No one seems to address the fact that he is mostly deaf. They think it would embarass him. Is there an association that gives out hearing aids to people in developing countries?
Pramoud prays every night as we watch Sopranos, or other curse-filled shows. It was incredibly surreal to hear "Uncle Pussy iced him, you fuck" coming from the TV while the devout Pramoud loudly recited Sanskrit in the background.
There was a lizard in my room. I hope he eats all the mosquitoes. All the food here is brown. I think there are rocks in the food. I hope I get to see one of the many pregnant cows give birth. That would be real exciting. I may be losing my mind.
People here seem to be employed almost exclusively in disaster management/prevention/relief. It is like the gold rush following natural disasters. All these aid agencies have converged on Bhubaneshwar and are working with, I imagine national and int'l grants to provide their idea of disaster relief.
BGVS and Action Aid seem to have some smart, long-term plans that involve women-run committees that conduct vocational training and oversee the distribution of aid money. "It must be women," says Subrat. "Otherwise the men would use the money to buy motorcycles and alchohol." That bit of info will NOT be going on the web site. Tomorrow a field visit to Jagatsinghpur in the Ersama and balikuda blocks. Whatever shall I wear?
Would someone please tell my sister Jackie to write me a email? Sister Lisa, your email keeps bouncing back! Mom, this is the number of the guesthouse 011916742550740 You should all be writing me emails! (email@example.com) I need some sane voices over the next two weeks!