Sunday, May 18, 2014

Hello and Namaste

Katie Hyde and Douglas Simpson pictured in front of Maitri's headquarters
I’d like to use my first blog post with Maitri to let you know a little about myself. I am Doug Simpson and I am a recent graduate of the University of Utah, where I received my degree in International Studies, while minoring in political science. My major emphasis was international development, an area I am very interested in. In the fall I will be attending graduate school at George Washington University to study International Development. I am looking forward to spending this summer with Maitri in New Delhi and have enjoyed my short time here thus far.
I grew up in Boise, the capital of the State of Idaho. I spent all of my childhood and adolescent life there, only moving to go to college at the University of Utah. Living in a state like Idaho afforded me many opportunities that make up some of my interests and hobbies. I am an avid skier and have been skiing since my Dad taught me at the age of two and a half years old. I also love to spend time in the mountains hiking and backpacking. Given my love for the mountains, it is one of my goals to travel to see the Himalayas while I am in India.
I have always enjoyed traveling and have tried to travel as much as possible. I have traveled to a number of European countries, along with, China, and Taiwan. I spent a couple of months in China studying Chinese at Tianjin University last summer, which was a great learning experience.
I have always been interested in international affairs and more specifically issues of international development. I knew I wanted to gain more practical experience in areas relating to development and more specifically human and social aspects of development. Being at the University of Utah the Hinckley Institute of Politics provides many opportunities for students to intern abroad. I talked to Lisa, a previous Maitri intern about potential internships that would fit my interests. She suggested Maitri, and it seemed to fit my areas of interest, so here I am. I am excited to intern for Maitri given its focus on social issues, such as violence against women, care for elderly widows, helping migrant populations, and helping disadvantage populations gain marketable skills. 
I hope to be able to be a valuable asset in my time here at Maitri and I hope to be able to learn a great deal from this experience. Not only do I hope to learn a great deal from my time at Maitri, but I hope I will be able to explore India, learning about its people, history, and culture.
            I (Katie Hyde) am coming to Maitri India from the University of Utah’s College of Social Work. I will be graduating this semester with an Honors Bachelors of Social Work and minors in Chinese and Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, pending the successful completion of my practicum here at Maitri. I came to Maitri because of their work with women’s issues like gender based violence, and the abuse and abandonment of widows. This work is important to me personally and I am grateful to have this opportunity to learn as I work in the field and the office with Maitri, which has been working with these populations for nearly ten years. The other focus I find myself drawn to is public health. I am strongly considering attending graduate school in the near future in a public health program.  Maitri works in the area of HIV/AIDS education, testing, and counseling, especially with those from the most vulnerable populations. I look forward to making a field trip to their ICTC office and learning more about that branch of their organization.
I love good stories and find a lot of enjoyment in conversations with others, good books, and film.  Before coming to Maitri my last paying job was in a local chocolate shop where I gained a taste for truffles and crèmes and learned to discern what comes within each chocolate. Next month my husband and I will celebrate our year and a half mark of marriage. I am lucky to have a man who supports me in my wild ambitions and does not resent that I’ve left for the summer to live and work in India. I am an amateur creative and dabble in photography (my favorite), sketching, pastels, and writing. Mostly I do this for my own pleasure, though this summer I am venturing onto blogs so we’ll see how much I share there. I derive joy from seeing places I’ve never been before, whether that’s a new country or a new bus route home.
I’ve been in New Delhi now for one week. India is the thirty third country that I have visited (and fifth to reside in), but everything here is new and delightsome - the smells, the sights, the tastes. I am trying to immerse myself as much as I can. I have been eating Indian food every meal (it’s heaven!) and am trying desperately to learn Hindi. I wander around the apartment and the office quietly muttering Hindi phrase like “Thank you, breakfast was terrific,” “I am going to the office,” or “How much is it?” Yesterday I strolled through the back streets of my neighborhood passing cricket matches, peering in shrines, and wandering. At one point the sweetest fragrance struck me, the delicate smell of a yellow flowering tree. Every way I turn I am newly captivated. Basically, I am happy to be here.

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