Showing posts from June, 2012

Welcome to SEARCH

Hello from India! I didn't officially announce any hiatus, because I would really like to keep a bit of a travel blog while I'm here, but as I was warned, the internet is sporadic and slow and I am really ridiculously busy. The part of India I'm in is called Gadchiroli, which is a very small and poor district of the state of Maharashtra. I'm doing a research internship at a community-health focused NGO called SEARCH, which I think I may have mentioned before. A large part of my project involves reading research papers, so instead, I'm going to focus on the other adventures I (and the other interns) have been having!

We have Sundays off, so two of the other interns and I decided to explore the grounds of the facility for the afternoon! We climbed trees and ate chikoo (an Indian fruit) and ripe tamarind right off the trees and saw a chameleon! Though, to be fair, chameleons haven't been the most interesting thing I've seen here so far. There was a baby cobra just outside our guesthouse a few nights ago! And I've seen 3 snakes in the 5 days I've been here!

A major part of what this organization does is help treat newborns in rural communities by training and empowering local women to make observations about and provide care for newborns in extremely poor, rural communities. Their original field trial of this home-based neonatal care system brought the neonatal mortality rate in this area down by almost 50%! Vandana-tai (pictured) is one such village health worker.

SUPER SPICY peppers drying on the roof of a shanty-house in one of the villages. Another intern took this picture, but I thought it was artsy and cool, haha.

A major factor in starting SEARCH was this broken bridge. A mother with a sick child were trying to get to the doctor who started the organization's (Dr. Abhay Bang) clinic, but couldn't cross the river because the bridge was broken and the river was flooded. They waited till later in the night when the water had gone down a little bit, came to his house and he tried to treat the child in his own bed, but unfortunately the child didn't make it. This experience pushed him to think about how healthcare could be effectively disseminated without having to make arduous journeys to the few hospitals in the area, and thus, this organization was born.

And so naturally, we decided to jump and climb on the ruins like the young children we all are. They looked so much like some crazy ancient ruins! It was immense fun!


A lot of you asked what I ended up doing with my graduation cap after my post about decorating, and since I'm leaving for India tomorrow and might not be able to blog for a long time, I thought I'd share that now!

Initially, I was going to make it "Oh! The Places You'll Go!" themed, because Dr. Seuss is a huge part of my university, having been the main donor to our giant spaceship library and many other buildings on campus. Then, I was trolling through quotes and came across one by JK Rowling and it hit me that, duh, Harry Potter is way more near and dear to me! So, probably to none of your surprises, I went with that. And then topped it off with a ton of glitter, because everything is better with glitter.

"Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure" -Albus Dumbledore. Fitting, right? For those new phases, trips around the world, grad schools, and fun adventures ahead of all of us!

I am so fortunate that I went through four years of college with these girls. In fact, almost our whole freshman suite (of 15 girls!) still hung out together regularly till the very end, which I've heard can be rare. But, these two, Loni and Dorth have been suitemates, roommates, best friends, study buddies, movie buddies, and everything in between these last years, and I'm going to miss the crap out of them as we head in different directions. But, no worries, because grand plans will be made and adventures will surely be had, as they always were in the past, in the future.

Sunday Mocktails

Dress: ModCloth; Cardigan: Loveculture; Tights: Target; Boots: Payless

I'm not usually one to complain too much (definitely the cashier in the Anger Management categorizations, but I would never shoot up a whole store...I hope), but this week has been insanely stressful. As such, I've decided to adapt Lisa's Friday Mocktails feature for today! 
My mother wants to help me pack. I know this is a good-natured request and all, and as much as I'd love to just have someone do all the work for me, I know if I don't pack things myself, I will never be able to find anything ever again. She also...doesn't approve of my graduation dress because it's "too tight and short" but uh, I literally brought all of my other clothes home last weekend, so I have no choice. 
I still have around 20 research papers to summarize for my summer project that need to be done before I reach Friday.
We recently had finals, and being done, I somehow suddenly became the "can you do this for me?" go-to person for other summer project stuff. Okay, you all have finals and I don't. I get that...but that doesn't change the fact that I can't transport 45 lbs of presentation materials to India on my own, so a little cooperation would be appreciated.
In all the packing stress, I've been neglecting the fact that I need to find an apartment in North stat. Before I'm in India and my internet connection is awful again.

There is a silver lining on all this stress though. I am walking at graduation today! Four years of college and plenty of knowledge have earned me this degree and the best friends and experiences anyone could ask for. I'm going to miss it when I move to North Carolina in August.

Calvin and Hobbes

There was nothing so exciting about Sunday mornings growing up as my dad walking in the door with the newspaper in hand. Sunday's was the "fat paper," as my brother and I called it, and it had the coveted 4-page comic section that the week's papers lacked. These Sunday papers first got me into Calvin and Hobbes, and soon, I was begging for the books so I could always have the two little miscreants at my disposal. Having barely begun to read at that age, I didn't much understand the significance behind most of those comics, but as I've gotten older, I've begun to appreciate them in new and fantastic ways. And their innocent cleverness never fails to put me in the best mood, even to this day.

Also, it is my personal desire that Calvin and Hobbes be The Doctor's next companions, because they would be perfect for each other.

That All-Blue Yankee

I'm decorating my graduation cap today! This seems like one of those moments that should be perfect and personal, but I am completely blanking. Hence I've turned to that almighty bringer of inspiration, Google, for some ideas.

Definitely lovin' that last one, obviously. But did you guys decorate your caps? And with what? Ideas would be much appreciated!

Henna Obsessed

Lesser known fact about me: I love doing henna.

I got into it young. My aunt always used to do it on me when I went to India and for weddings and special occasions, and somewhere along the line, I just sort of picked it up. Now, even when I have no henna cone to draw with, I'm still doodling patterns in pen and sharpie into notebooks, on my skin, etc.

Funnily enough, this skill has actually been useful, as doing henna for people has been one of our top fundraisers for Project RISHI. Free-handing designs is an amazing creative outlet.

Though traditional Indian henna is a lot of intricate lines and patterns, I also love getting to do things that are more like tattoos. Before I got my real one, I spent a ton of time with the Deathly Hallows symbol henna'd various places on me to see what I liked.

Most recent design. This is what happens when Mugdha is given a henna cone and doesn't have popcorn for the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers extended edition.


Dear Blogger,

I'm not appreciating you deleting giant chunks of posts I'm making as I switch from HTML to Compose for formatting. Not appreciating that my posts have huge giant spaces in them now because of this new interface. It's not helping with the already-infrequent nature of my posting.


P.S. I need a new layout. Make that easier too. Cool, thanks.
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