In retrospect, vivid recollection of those days warms my heart. Looking at the pictures which capture our marvelous moments, my smiles are unstoppable. “Thank you so much, Diana”. Your Email and awesome zip file lead me recall those sweet memories. My thoughts of clouds back again to about eighty days ago.
That was my second journey outside my mother land. Since I said “Good Bye” to my mom and sister at the Yangon International Airport, every of my footsteps were mingled with excitement and confidence. I had two male companions who also achieved the opportunity to represent the country. They both are really good guys but it seems we enjoy different taste. I was strolling alone in the airport at transfer and departure time while they were sleeping on the bench. I was totally reluctant to sleep or just to sit and gaze here and there nonsensically. I am so curious to explore new places. Discovering the development of others motivates me followed by haunted feeling. I am always very fond of observing how people from diverse origins act but I found myself in those grand book shops for many hours and many times.
November 20, 2010
Finally, I was HERE. The land of magic! The native of Mahatma Gandhi (whom I admire in many ways and disagree in some ways)! The place where the soul of Mother Teresa (No doubt that who greatly influenced to become I AM TODAY) dwelled in! The land of unbelievable cultural prosperity! The land of super rich on one hand and mega poor on another! The land where many woman presidents and prime ministers emerge! The land overwhelming unedifying discrimination to women! As soon as I stepped down on this miracle land, my emotions are also blend. The reason why I am here is “the Kaleidoscope event of Oxfam International Youths Partnership Program which will be held in New Delhi from 21st to 29th November”. Three hundred talented action partners from 98 different countries would join this 9 day conference of OIYP 2010-2013 cycle. I am one of them of course. At that time, I was anticipating following amazing days madly.
I have never imagined having friends from Tonga and Azerbaijan to Israel and Sudan. As I am pretty good at Geography, I basically know it after a hearing of the name of a country but for some, I didn’t except to meet and deal with someone there. I didn’t once think what Yemen looks like in terms of society, politics, culture and economic. I have never cogitated how the youths in Uganda dream and implement. Meeting with hundreds of great talents at my age, I find myself listening, learning, reflecting and voicing. I believe one can make a change for many. So? Three hundreds of us?
From Day 1 to Day 8
From Welcome Gathering and Opening Ceremony to Kaleidoscope Party and Closing and Good Bye, I was holistic absorbed. I woke up with great excitement and within an hour I would be in my track suit for joining Yoga class or laughing session. We got accustomed to be chatter-box at tea and meal times enjoying the yummy Indian food and cuisines. Home Room and Learning Market Place were the climax of the days. “Free time” can be discovered only in the program schedule and I could not fully exploit them running hear and them with inborn curiosity. In the evenings, I was a tourist. Our cohort tried almost all as far as we can. Both old and modern buses! Tauk Tauk and Taxi! We nibbled all of them sure in crazy driving. One night, our return trip was by metro. We learnt “No Camera” there. Someone complaint the why and I just present my opinion. “I think to protect collecting preconditions by the terrorists”. We visited traditional markets, small bazaars, and super markets and of course bargained. I am the one who has dilemma of what to buy at shopping places. We were stunned by incredible Fort, Jama Masjid, India Gate and the Presidential house, Qutab Minar and Lotus Temple. We went back the hotel very late. I went up stairs to bring my Acer intending to communicate those who are away but always ended with face-to-face (heart-to-heart) conversation with someone. When I arrived back my room as a last time for a day, the clock always showed it’s appreciably over the midnight. Some night, sweet Nikki has been already there sleepy but some night, I was not able to record when she comes back.
Learning Market Place Sessions
When I filled the form of our choices of Market Place three months ago, no doubt that my favorite was “Personal Empowerment”. Then I answered laughing “because I was so depressed at that time”. Wow! Dicky, I still remember your 3Cs and 4 Cs. Competence, Confidence and Creativity and Connect, Capacity, Control and Culture. Right? Despite being a questions shooter then, thanks to you, I can now help my friends understand. Thanks also for “Passion to Idea” and “Idea to Action”. My feedback to you? Perfect! Truly amazing Facilitator except making us talkative and I even suffered sore-throat.
The idea of going something deep down is great but my inquisitive nature led me to choose four single sessions and forget about double sessions. Sexual Diversity Awareness! It’s our second meeting, Dickie, isn’t it? I like you so much and glad to hear you also like me. One thing made me lost. Why did you make me debate with you for a model to the class? First, what I want to gain is the theoretical knowledge on the issue but you focused on community stigma and government policy in each of our country from different regions and how the activists advocate. That’ somehow marvelous and one of the best sessions I attended. Thanks again for guiding me to reach what I want.
Although we laughed for our defense mechanism, in our heart, we were feeling sick listening to each other’s story of how people are struggling with their “Access to Medicine”. I presented about inhumane blood trade by corrupted hospital staff from my community. I don’t exactly remember her name. She is originally from Afghan and currently studying in US. She shared her friends’ story that she was in hazardous condition due to doctor’s over and wrong prescription. I was in deep sorrow hearing the stories of people suffering and fighting for their access to medicine and the SURVIVAL.
I was heart broken in my third single session. “Women Circle” was the one I eagerly wanted to participate. Our facilitator could not reach to us because of her family matter. Our group was scattered and I marched to facilitator Hnin Su Mon’s room to support my fellow citizen whom I was so proud of.
The reason I picked “Personal Safety” was for my personal benefit rather than to apply in the community. Anyway I can share to someone those who are like me. Thanks To To for not only personalizing your story through Philippines content where one of the dangerous region for journalists but also highlighting for each of us cases. It’s difficult to capture with words for my gratitude for sharing tips for woman journalists who are posed to threat.
Although I was applied for “Youth and Citizenship”, I was allocated in “Gender and Women Empowerment”. No reason to feel bad. GREAT! That’s likewise my compassion. After heeding every words of thoughtful and necessary guideline of team leaders, checking the decency of our dresses, assuring to wear enough large scarfs and just to show our face, our team headed to (according to our team leader) conservative Islam slum community. After the presentation of a spokesperson from Hope Project at their office, I was inspired by their objectives, activities and impacts. After visiting to their so-called houses and meeting with that old women and listening to them, I remained with the question of what WOMEN EMPOWERMENT means. When OIYP newsletter team interviewed me for the forthcoming issue, I could not concentrate what and how to response but I am sure I learnt countless.
The name of our family is Bandahna (Bond in Hindi) and we were bonded well and we have total 20 family members. You are wonderful big brothers and sisters, Carlos and Diana. Each of you inspired me, the rest of the guys. You motivated me. You praised me. You loved me.
How can I do to be friendly and know well with each of 300? You guys, however, are the ones I could reach the closet. At final parting day, some of you had already expressed the entirely same feeling with me. In my turn, “One of my dreams is to travel around the world. I am the one who’s always striving to make a trip. I would try my best to meet again with you all but I am not sure whether I can make my dreams do true visiting your country. If any of you have a plan or visit to Burma, it’s my honor to meet again and help you. Never hesitate to contact me. I live in Yangon and if I am still there, I will be definitely beside you to explore beautiful Burma. I am there for you guys.”
Home Sweet Home
I had a safe journey home. What an amazing eight days I achieved in Delhi! Based on my conversations with Action Partners, M&Ms, facilitators, volunteers and staff via Gtalk and Facebook, there has been an incredible mix of emotions and experiences on returning to our countries. As Nelson Mandela once said:
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”