Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Arriving in Guwahati, Assam

We arrived in Ishani's home town late in the afternoon of December 14. We had lots of delays at the airport in Kolkata because of fog.

Ishani's parents have a beautiful home. Like Murali's parents, they built the ground floor first and lived there for most of Ishani's childhood. Then they expanded and built a larger second floor, where they now live and the first floor is rental. Recently, they added a third floor with guest rooms, where we are now staying. I think they are making room for the eventual grandchildren!

In the evening, we went to a reception hall where we had a special dinner for Murali's and Ishani's third wedding anniversary. Many of Ishani's extended family came. They had not been able to visit Ishani since her marriage. I meet many more people than I can possibly remember, but I especially talked to Raki, Ishani's cousin, who teaches English in a local school and has a darling 3-year-old. I also talked to another cousin who works with the government health service. She oversees grants to local organizations in the state of Assam. As part of her job, she travels to many rural areas to make sure that the monies are being used properly. She has been particularly working with a program where local people are trained to help pregnant women access prenatal care and delivery at government hospitals. This helps to reduce infant mortality and maternal mortality. She has also been working on government/private health care partnerships to make more health care available to workers on tea plantations.

While I was speaking with the women, Mike was busy getting to know all the kids and finding out about their schools and what they like to do. Later one of Ishani's little nephews told her that he spoke so much English to Mike that his head was spinning.

1 comment:

  1. After reading about the efforts made in India to reduce the child mortality rate, Amanda's class looked at a website that shows current mortality rates ( http://www.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=261 ) and changes in mortality rate ( http://www.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=262 ) world wide.
    Studying those two pages we realized that how much these efforts in India pay off!