It was Friday night when we reached Seattle. Throughout the ride from the airport Ravi and Nirveek had discussed some details of AID financial and legal work, IRS, etc. Khiyali asked where Nirveek was taking us and was pleased with his response. (Sahith’s house.) I let drowsiness overcome me by the end of the drive. I anticipated having a light meal, sleeping and preparing the Milan dinner the next day.
When we reached Sahith’s house, it was full of volunteers!
Somehow amidst our chatting all the way home Nirveek had not mentioned that we would be meeting everyone today. Our jet lag disappeared and we jumped right in to various discussions going on in parallel.
With Ayesha di, taking in Lake Washington before Milan in Seattle
The next day we had another long drive ahead of us, to Mercer Island, venue of the dinner. It was June 21, the longest day of the year, and what better place than the meeting room with large windows and a terrace overlooking Lake Washington.
Inside the hall, the array of millet dishes was spread on the table and soon the buffet was open. We heard a stirring introduction by Sunitha on her own journey as an AID volunteer and how her ties with the folks working in the villages had strengthened over the years. Ravi gave an overview of AID and talked about how an issue such as women’s rights was embedded in other issues and shared examples from our work in food and health rights. Ayesha Khatun then talked about her work in West Bengal with women’s rights, health, children’s education and community organization in the Muslim and tribal communities of Birbhum District. Several chapters of AID are supporting this work.
If ever a chapter could get a Young AIDers going it must be Seattle, where kids look forward to AID meetings as much or even more than their parents. One child at a meeting may get bored, but when there are a few kids who look forward to seeing each other, it becomes easy for parents to make time for the meetings. Sahith spoke about his recent visit to a project in India and what difference it made to his own life. Sahith, Sahasra, Sachita & Khiyali and also performed a short skit that humorously called attention to consumerism and waste and highlighted efforts of our partners involved in Zero-Waste.
Quotable quote from Suma: “A couple of years ago someone commented on our meeting time, which is Friday evenings: “On that day only the parents with kids can make it!”