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End of School/Halloween/ISP

November 3, 2007

So yesterday was officially my last class. Its been an especially busy and insane past two weeks. On monday we went to the World Bank to chat with Lynn Bennett the head anthropologist there and partway through our meeting their was an EARTHQUAKE! The World Bank does not mess about so we were immediately evacuated from the building and had to have the rest of of our meeting beside a sawnky hotel pool. Never a dull moment. Then Wednesday was Halloween, an a delightful one! I was a Gypsy/Mystical Jew/Nepali Dancer and all of us students dressed up and held a halloween party at our Program House and invited the Cornell Study Abroad students to attend. My computer also finally arrived after a customs debacle and a very corrupt and questionable customs duty was paid–but just in time for a halloween dance party with students and teachers.Belowis the SIT Nepal Class of Fall 07 In Costume

Halloween 07

I have finalized my ISP Project and will be presenting my official proposal on wednesday (!!!) to my academic director Christina Monson. I have decided to focus on Aarohan Theater group’s Kachahari Theater (theater of the oppressed) in Kathmandu as a case study of tactics mentioned by Amartya Sen and Nussbaum for successful and sentient Development. Sen and Nussbaum both emphasize increased local dialogue as one the most important aspects of Development and as a way of avoiding paternalism from outside organizations and countries. Kachahari theater is created by the Aarohan Theater Company in order to “sensitize” their fellow Nepalis as well as promote discussion and create solutions to a variety of social issues. They pick a topic, preform a short improv piece in a village or urban kathmandu and at the climax of the presentation they stop the performance and ask the audience what should happen next, what the protagonist should do etc etc. Audience members with solutions then come up on stage and take on the role of the protagonist and try and resolve the climax. I am very drawn to Kachahari also because Nepal is a society of castes and ethnicities and religions that are constantly at odds with each other so providing the opportunity for Nepalis to actively engage with and perhaps begin to associate or understand the “Other” within their own society hold tremendous potential. Research will involve extensive interviews withe members of the theater company, attending as many performances as possible and conducting brief interviews with audience members both before and after the performance, meeting with NGOs that have partnered with Aarohan in the past for projects and hopefully visiting semi-rural villages around the Kathmandu valley where Aarohan has done in depth Kachahari workshops and performances. Im very very amped and a little imtimidated from my initial interviews with Aarohan people but I guess thats all part of doing intense field research!

I will be living with my family for the next month and will be the only SIT students remaining at their homestay for the ISP period. I hope that being with my family will not distract or keep me from my research but I honestly cannot imagine being in Nepal and not coming home to more food than I can eat every night and not having my family in my life. I hope that having my personal computer here will also lessen stress and mean that I can always stay up super late in my room, feverishly typing…

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. mom permalink
    November 3, 2007 3:42 pm

    Hi sweetie
    Thanks for the great picture and for continuing to blog. I get why you elected to stay with your family.
    I am curious to know if village/city families attend the theater performances you will be researching. Also, what are some specific topics? does the theater group meet with any resistance in certain places? how are they funded? is it an ok career–actor?
    I would also like to hear more about all that food you’re eating, what’s a typical brkfst,lunch,dinner
    xoxoxox Mom

  2. Richard Gauthier permalink
    November 3, 2007 5:29 pm

    Hi Sarah, Great blog! Do you have a skype name yet? Mine’s richardgauthier1. email richgauthier@gmail.com
    Richard

  3. Willow permalink
    November 5, 2007 4:42 am

    Your project sounds amazing. Do they help you learn how to interview? I’ve found it to be a continuously developing skill.

    Would love to hear the answers to your mom’s questions too! 🙂

    xoxo
    Wil

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