Wednesday, October 14

Spontaneity and Her Role

To put it politely, the professional world is handled ‘differently’ in Bangladesh. My meetings have been cancelled because someone forgot to tell me that they decided not to come to the office today – discovered after I made the 100tk and 45 minute trek to their office. Or how professionals are always out of the office doing fieldwork, with no voicemail box and emails that bounce back. Or moving offices and not updating the new address and number on their website for 5 months. Or continuously postponing a meeting – for 6 weeks.

Yesterday, I was supposed to attend a meeting on the other side of the city – 20 minutes and 1.5km in a traffic jam, I get a text saying it’s cancelled – again. Should I just head home, or head to this place with nothing to do? It’s very hard to wander aimlessly in this city without the fear of falling into a sewage system or accidently winding up in a slum with your $600 camera in tote.

I stayed in the CNG and called another Fulbright Scholar, Herb Propper, knowing that he was doing a lecture in the same area. Herb and his assistant Saba have been kindly helping me try to get in contact with appropriate organizations for my project. Again, they generously invited me along to their event – which I then discovered was a private psychodrama session. With permission of the group members and my oath of confidentiality, I was allowed to sit in on the session.

It was one of those days where good things fall apart to make room for better things. I was blown away by the effectiveness and energy of pyschodrama. I saw, and Herb, correct me if I’m wrong, that a large part of psychodrama surrounds the concept of roles – how a drama has the different character actors, director etc.; our psyche works the same. One group member began to feel confused, pressured and weak. These feelings bubbled during one experiment. With this group member, a full psychodrama was performed, playing different roles to dig up the truth of the feelings and how to address them.*

I was stunned: sitting in a chair in the corner observing yet fully absorbed. I couldn’t help but cry at the intensity of this group member’s feelings, relating them to my own. I have a blessed curse of being able to relate to any emotion and being moved to love the person expressing it.

Herb began the session with an important theory that I needed to hear as well: the theory of spontaneity. One part of the simple definition of spontaneity is when you have an old, familiar situation with a new response – when this occurs, you have acted spontaneously. I have been here for three months still searching for avenues to do my topic. For three months, I’ve been approaching this project the same way, and I way I am used to (expecting speed and results). Clearly, it’s not working. So now I must adjust, adapt and change – either my process, or my topic.

So today, with the help of Saba, I finally could call one organization I’ve been trying to reach. They told me that in order to work in their shelter, which still doesn’t fit the ideal description of my project, I must write a letter to ask permission to just have a meeting with head of the shelter to then ask for approval to simply visit, let alone study. After a month of trying to reach them, yet another step! I was ready to throw the phone off the roof when I heard this. All I want is to love these women, is that so difficult?

But – I must adapt. I am here with a goal and it will be met, just in ways I don’t expect.

*Due to absolute confidentiality, the exact events of the drama will not be revealed.

1 comment:

  1. A "New York Minute" is wonderful to accomplish so many things at one time. But hense "New York", only here, when we leave our little corner of the world EVERYONE else is soooooooooo much slower. Being transplanted in each others world would cause ajita, unless we learn to accept it and deal with it (maybe not embrass it)and "get her done"! Mummy xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox