Three Trips to Washington 

And one to Mumbai

Three trips to Washington, DC, probably fifty phone calls, hold music ad nauseum, a letter to my congressman, and a snow storm and I am finally on my way to India. This move started out as so many modern day life events do, in a wholly unromantic email. But it was an email for a truly unique opportunity to spend a year working with a non-profit through the iCats Fellowship sponsored by LGT Venture Philanthropy, and a chance to live and work in Mumbai, India.

Since then I have gone from excited to scared at the thought of fulfilling a long-time personal dream to visit India and work with an organization that is doing hugely important work in the country, to paralyzed by the bureaucracy of the visa process, anxious at the prospect of the many challenges I will face, and back to excited, and everything in between.

But I have been excited above all else at the professional opportunity this Fellowship presents; The chance to spend a year working with a promising organization, investing knowledge and effort to help them build capacity in a needed area, in my case, fundraising at Educate Girls, an NGO that works to improve retention and enrollment rates for young girls in Rajasthan. With a contract and a mission, the Fellowship feels like a chance to be challenged to do something measurable and long-term but most importantly something that has the potential to make a real difference both for this organization and for the girls they seek to help.

Getting ready to fly to India feels surreal today, despite that fact that I’ve had months to think about it and years to imagine that I’d someday be headed to this country. It feels like vertigo. The feeling of being at the edge of so many possibilities and so much excitement that you feel a knot in your stomach. For the first time in a while I can let my mind wander thinking about the possibilities of where I will be in a week, in a month, in a year. Regardless of where that place is I’m going to be a different person when I get there.

I feel extremely fortunate to be a part of this cohort of Fellows and I can’t wait to hear about the work that gets done during this time and all of the stories that people have. I can only say that I think my biggest challenge is going to be to try to accomplish everything I’ve set out to. With any luck, I will throw that list away and write a new one. It certainly seems like India is a place where you yourself can only control so much.

Me and my Visa!

Me and my Visa!

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