My greatest expectation for the next ten months is that whatever expectations and assumptions I may have will be thoroughly debunked by my actual experience. If it were up to me, I would just assume go into this piece of my life without anticipations but instead put my full attention to what ever is actually taking place and participate in those experiences accordingly. But this is not how most human brains work, ideas images and anticipated scenarios seep into our minds and lay the ground for our own personal reality as we will perceive it. So what can I do? Accept the nature of the beast and do my best to maintain an open, inquisitive mind to whatever I encounter, regardless of whether or not the sights and sounds around me match what I have imagined.
That said, the scope of this coming experience has given my anticipation and expectation skills a run for their money. For much of the time leading up to this fellowship I have not known what to think or feel; other times anxieties rest in matters of detail that are inconsequential in the scheme of things. Perhaps my most concrete worry pertains to the quality and effectiveness of my work. I know from experience that to expect great things in this regard can be counterproductive, but I do have hopes that whatever I might accomplish in these next ten months will be beneficial to the organization and community with whom I will be working. I wonder if my skills will be adequate, and my work accepted by the community. And will I be accepted as well? My experience and instincts tell me yes, but the nerves are difficult to convince at times.
While I have done work in development, I believe this fellowship in many respects will be quite different from my past experiences. Living in rural Uttarakhand I will be quite isolated from most that I am familiar with. This makes embracing the local community and enfolding myself into it of the utmost importance. Aside from my social well being, I think that living and working with people in small villages will depend a great deal on building trust. This is of course much easier said than done, but my hope is that I will rise to the occasion and give myself over to this work, the people and the land that will be my home for the next ten months.