Five Months OnDate: 17/1/2011
Five months ago, I left India and the 100 girls with whom I had sweated, laughed, and kiai-ed. I left wonderful and talented project managers who continue to work for these girls' empowerment. And I also left behind some changes, which I have failed to mention in all this time. Change 1 - Continued self defense to girls in Babuan. Before arriving in Babuan, the girls there had never been involved in karate. To my knowledge, they had never participated in an organized sport. So, I was it, their first and possibly last exposure to any kind of empowering sport activity. But that just didn't make sense to me. Sure, Babuan was a far away village, but a weekly or bi-monthly trip couldn't be that much of a burden. So, before I left, I made some people make some promises. I was assured that my intrepid motorbike driver, Dheeraj, would continue the self defense classes in Babuan. This has continued. Change 2 - â€˜Stranger Danger'. The organization I was there with did not have a â€˜stranger danger' training for the girls. I developed one, going over how to identify bad people, the ploys they use to kidnap, and how to avoid or get away from the people or situations. The information was translated. I don't know whether it's been handed out or not. Change 3 - My presence caused a stir. The karate teacher for the KGBV girls had left for some reason some months prior to my arrival. After my departure, she was mysteriously hired back. : ) Change 4 - I was requested by Kalam to share my thoughts on the organization's programs at KGBV. Never short on thoughts or ideas, I sent him a list after my return to the States. One of the ideas I had was for the girls to go on organized field trips to expose them to the broader world. I was informed that all girls went on such a trip last week. Small steps. More to come.