Monday, May 11, 2009
I'm in New Delhi, India now to attend the 5th Regional Institute on Sexuality, Society and Culture sponsored by the not-for-profit NGO Talking About Reproductive and Sexual Health Issues (TARSHI). I flew in yesterday via Singapore Airlines. The flight took under 8 hours from Manila to Singapore then from Singapore to Delhi. I got in Delhi with other participants from Manila around 10 pm, collected our luggage and located our driver. The driver first drove us into a street jammed with traffic. After almost an hour, he decided to take a diversion road. We finally reached our hotel a little past 1 am.
I was very very tired. When I knocked on my room door, it was opened by my room mate from Indonesia, Luluk (in the picture above). She's a very nice girl from Central Java. We exchanged pleasantries briefly and went to sleep as the first day was going to start at 9 sharp.
We woke up at 7 am and got ready for breakfast. At the cafe, we met other participants. At 9 am, our first day began. In a nutshell, the first day covered the basics on sexuality and culture. The highlight of the day was the screening of one of my all-time favorite movies, Ma Vie En Rose. After the screening, reactions were shared by some of the participants. I was very touched by one of them, Damai also from Indonesia who was sobbing as she shared her own experiences raising a daughter. According to Damai, her 9 year old approached her telling her that she's in love with a girl. As a mother, Damai was touched by the movie because the story of Ludovic, a little boy who feels and knows deep inside that she is a girl, reminds her of her own daughter's struggle with her identity at such an early age.
Anyway, I am very tired right now and will rest. I have a ton of readings to go over still before dinner. At the moment, I'm a little disappointed that I might not see the Taj Mahal. The organizers said that the entire 8-day training will be very hectic that no time will be allotted to sight-seeing. There is a scheduled outing on one day but it will be done briefly just to buy souvenirs to bring back home. So far, I'm okay with being in the hotel for now after the first day. I have seen parts of Delhi on our way to it and like new cities one is visiting for the first time, I am awed by it. It is truly incredible as the India tourism authority calls their country and I'm loving every second of it.