We, the Fellows, spent the first days of our 10 month journey in Delhi for Orientation.
What, exactly, were we oriented to? For some, it was an orientation to India. Others had been many times, and some have lived here their entire life. For some, it was an orientation to public-private partnerships in development or social investment in India. And then there was orientation to yoga, thanks to the ever flexible and knowledgable Vishwas, who held early morning yoga sessions for anyone interested. We were also oriented to our mentors for the next 10 months, who all flew to Delhi for a mentor workshop (special shout out to Lakshmi, whom I am convinced is the best mentor — thanks for coming all the way from Chennai for the day!). It was also orientation to rhyming songs about the FRRO, courtesy of Ilana, as we waited for hours, munching on “grilled cheese pakora” while we learned about the grind of navigating Indian bureaucracy. And for some of the South Indians (cough, cough, Swathi, cough), it was an orientation to North India.
For all of us, it was an orientation to each other. Don’t get me wrong: many of the talks we attended were insightful and engaging. But, without a doubt, the highlight of the orientation week was getting to know the other fellows. We quickly transformed from a group of strangers with a common interest in development in India into a close knit community who now cannot seem to go five minutes without some sort of communication with each other.
Here’s to a challenging and rewarding year ahead, my fellow Fellows. I look forward to learning and growing with and through you all as you continue to orient me towards new possibilities.