Ready or Not…

my packing piles
my packing piles

I’ve been gathering the requisite items for my trip: money belt, adapter, gifts for hosts, hand sanitizer, pepto, and no less than 3 bottles of DEET in different forms. Physically, I’m feeling close to prepared and ready.  Mentally, not so much.  I depart for India in 5 days but I have other things on my mind:  I still need to write 3 final papers, put in a final day at work, help plan a big event that I’m missing next week, celebrate my mom’s birthday, and find out if all my stuff is going to fit into my backpack.

But I know this is happening whether I feel ready or not. And I am committed to showing up and being present in the experience.   I like to be in control, and I know I will need to relinquish it.  I have few expectations, aside from knowing this will be far different from the rest of our MBA experience.  I do feel ready to embrace the unknown and the challenge, and I am confident and thankful I will be in good company.

-Jude

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Welcome from the threshold

My prayer bracelet reminder

Digging through a drawer a few weeks ago, I came across a red string prayer bracelet that was gifted to me by some fellow travelers during last year’s Social Enterprise in India course. I’ve been wearing it ever since rediscovering it as a practical and experiential reminder for this year’s trip. Don’t forget to order Indian currency, my bracelet whispers. Listen actively. Let yourself be changed by each conversation. Leave your assumptions at the door as you head out to the airport. Travel light.

Welcome to the 2012 Social Enterprise in India blog, where this year’s travelers from Portland State University will report from the field what we’re learning about social enterprise as a strategy for solving social problems in an Indian context. We’ll also share what we’re learning about ourselves along the way. We invite you to join the conversation by following our blog and posting comments.

Writing this welcome, I am reminded of Lakshmi, a shy caretaker at the Byrraju Foundation guesthouse in Bhimavarm, who taught me how to draw muggu, the white chalk symbols some Indian women draw on their thresholds to ward off disease, illness and other evils from entering their homes. I’m posting a picture of a muggu Lakshmi and I made together here, at the threshold of our blog.

Muggu on the threshold of the Byrraju Foundation guesthouse, Bhimavaram, India 2011

Wishing my fellow travelers safe and meaningful journeys,

Alison