As I was walking through the overflowing streets of Sangam Vihar, one of the most poorly maintained parts of the city, I heard someone calling my name aloud. I ignored and kept walking towards the bus stop. I heard the voice again. This time it was louder. I stopped and turned back, only to find a young boy in his early teens, dressed in a government school uniform and waving his hands ecstatically. He rushed to shake hands and greet me. He told me that he saw me taking a session at the Tughlakabad center. I was surprised as I generally visit a center only once a month. I noticed that he was trying to hold the conversation in English. On my way to the bus stop, I kept smiling ceaselessly.
Barely a few months ago, I was having the time of my life as a facilitator at the Tehkhand center when I was given the responsibility to support other facilitators. At first I thought that life as a Field Support Trainer would not be as fun as it was as a facilitator. It turned out to be even better.
There have been so many unforgettable moments filled with immense joy that I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Earlier I had eighty odd students, now I have more than thousand students to interact with, every month. Most of them recognize me by face and some of them can even recall my name. Some of them look forward to meet me every month and are prepared with questions, riddles and puzzles. They try to outdo me and I in return always leave them with something to think about. We share a very special bond that keeps strengthening with every smile shared. It is their smiles which keeps me going on a hot and humid day.
Supporting and training facilitators has been fun too. I am delighted that most of the facilitators I support are extremely creative and open minded. Each one of them, with their distinct style of facilitation and unique perspective, makes our program richer and holistic. They welcome my feedback and try their best to implement them. Their humility amazes me. It has also been a great learning opportunity for me as training people ensures that I too fix my own grammatical and pronunciation errors.
Interacting with such a diverse group of people has changed me as a person. I have begun to listen and respect other’s perspective more empathetically. Also, I have realized how futile egos and prejudices are and how deeply they can impact work. I now believe that if we really want to solve issues that engulf us, then we must learn to rise above our egos and get things done.
When I started my journey, I had no idea that I would come so far. On the way, I did face some challenges, both physical as well as emotional. I struggled to travel around due to severe backaches. Also, it was very challenging to communicate ideas, set expectations, reflect sessions, train people and interact with students, all in a single visit. However, I was able to overcome them by the affection and support of people who make the FEA family. The space they provided me played an important part in my growth. And the experience changed my own perspective about growth. Growth, as I now see, is not a vertical phenomenon but a horizontal one. My approach towards growth and work has become more holistic.
Words can express experiences, only partially. Suffice to say that it has been quite a ride so far and I am gearing up for more.
Field Support Trainer