A bus picks the Afghan students up at the end of the day. By then, they are like any other students, a bit burnt out. Given that its India, there’s a lot of waiting around – like for packing into the bus and leaving to go back to their apartments and their children. A nanny is provided for the collective since many have come to India with young children. In a sense, they are treated like expatriates where all their needs are taken care of, a resourceful Afghan is in charge of logistics that make their lives easier, and their requests and complaints have a sounding board. This sounding board from what I understand is Ibrahim, a young Afghan who speaks fluent English, who has traveled quite a bit, and who towers over the others in stature.
Height and stature are interesting considerations. Ibrahim is one of the youngest men on the team from what I gather. I don’t believe he has jewelry skills. He is very deliberate about his appearance. (I unfortunately did not capture his bright blue, slim-fit pants in these photos that match the armbands of his buttoned up shirt.) He is very self-assured, quiet and composed. Those characteristics – do they make one a leader? Exceptions aside, it seems so. I wonder if effectiveness also goes hand in hand with one who comes across as leadership-like? Please note: this is not to question Ibrahim at all. He apparently is good at his job. Its my own curiosity since a lot of tall, assured people assume leadership roles. More than the average, I gather.
(Outside of the Institute)
(The Afghan women waiting…)
(The Afghan men waiting…)
(The bus for Paul, Sam, and the Afghans’ transportation)
(The van for Sophia, Ben, the women designers, and other temporary visitors)
(Sophia and Ben)
(Chris, the visiting accountant)
At the end of the day, we return to Narain Niwas Palace where its down to discussing trade shows and all that is entailed again. Sophia has to get the budget right to ensure that the NGO is managed well to succeed. She wears many hats, running the entire operation and playing secretary/personal assistant to herself. She’s managing quite a handful of people, personalities, and cultures which she does with sweetness, charm, command and aplomb, all at once.
(‘Office’ photos at the Narain Niwas Palace)
(Claire, this is for you)
The evening ended with an dinner on the lawn at the hotel with a charming Indian man, Sanjay, highly informed, highly opinionated, and with great wit. Sophia asked him if his Indian company could somehow help out with the organization and he promptly told her he was retiring in three months so it would not be possible. He then very seriously said he was closing his business but would be reopening in a year or so, or precisely when her project in India was finished. He then chuckled with laughter at himself. He and the Indian host the following night embodied the best deliveries in Indian literature. Authors had to get them from somewhere!