India – Calm before the monsoon

It was quiet at the villa after the kids left. The staff had been given the time off and even the king had left with Teddy to meet up with his wife, a badass politician who was also from royalty and attending the funeral of thousands for her mother. I wish I could have met her.
Besides making and hanging new program materials and managing communication that was increasing from headquarters, that few days was to be the closest thing I had to down time during the program. A good thing given the storm that was brewing.
It had all been so surreal that I felt like didn’t know my ass from my hat so had started documenting what went on as of a couple weeks before. That way, if I felt it got to the point of turning in those notes to headquarters, I could hopefully trust them as an outside(ish) source to see it clearly. Next post will be that document, BTW.

It was my first time to process. I thought about the things I wish I had done differently, what I could have done better and ways I behaved in difficult situations that I was proud of. For instance, trying to point out how we all had different strengths and weakness to the kids. For instance, Chris being better at keeping the kids together and therefore safe when we were out. Something I wasn’t so great at. Also when painfully humbling myself to tell Jessica that, regardless of what I thought of her letter, I was sorry for anything I had unintentionally done or said that had made her feel bad (she had deleted the convo on FB so no way to reflect), that my only intention was to make her laugh and feel supported and that maybe I was overcompensating to make myself look competent (after the way her and Chris had made me feel). Sadly, I wasn’t surprised when it fell on deaf ears as she focused on being livid at me for speaking up to the kids following her about gossip (about her) in a feeble attempt to try to show support. She took it instead as my undermining her authority. Regardless of my intent, maybe so maybe not, but either way it showed once again how I could never win.
On July first, eight days before the first group of kids left, Gustav (Country Field Manager for Asia and the Pacific – guy above Chris) had called me worked up about a lot of the same stuff that I was having issues with regarding Chris. He was also adamant that I needed to get my time off but didn’t help to figure out how to do that when up against Chris. A sign that he had no idea what was really going on. It was nice to finally see acknowledgment about the issues but also surreal and frustrating to have the negative energy of those things that I was the only one dealing with at ground-level.
Not getting help from Gustav (cool guy besides) about the letter from Jessica (which I felt fueled her confidence in continuing hostile treatment of me) along with having the time to sort through it while not under fire, I finally decided to turn the document in. At the same time, consequently and unbeknownst to me, I did it at the same time that the company was facing a sexual harassment lawsuit about Jessica as well as when the kid’s reviews were coming in with shockingly horrible feedback about Chris (running the program like the military) and Jessica (who was called a snake). They were the worst the company had ever seen. Mind you that the organization had felt pressure from the parents since the beginning of the program to get rid of Chris.
The sexual harassment lawsuit that had resulted from Jessica’s being inappropriately affectionate toward one of the boys (long hugs, holding his hand when watching a movie with her mentor group, etc.) after he had a mental break. Kid had lost his grandfather and then not too long after had found his dad dead (natural causes). Started shouting anti-Semitic remarks at another boy and threatening his life followed by sneaking into his (and the boy who told me) room that night to watch them sleep. He told them the next day.
Consequentially, when one of the boys brought this to me (and I had two other groups of kids coming to me with other things at the same time), Chris and Jessica were MIA. Chris apparently because he was headed back on Raja’s bike after one of their “meetings”.
So much shit was going down. Before they left I had warned Ahmad about the girls who had crushes on him causing issues amongst themselves and how it could cause trouble for him. Sadly, it didn’t seem to make much of a difference as he still got caught in the crossfire and was not allowed back with the second group. Instead he worked only with the UK group the local team was also running at the same time. What also happened to be the reason why the local guys who were more experienced and supposed to be running their side of our program were MIA. Regardless, Ahmad was coming to me still confused and heartbroken months later. Such a sweet guy. Maybe there’s more to it than I was aware of but as far as I know, he was little more than a casualty of war.
The calls and inquiries about everything I didn’t yet know was going on (and probably still don’t fully) didn’t take up too much of my time. I was mostly enjoying the swag I got from pricey stuff our well-off kids had left behind as trash (think pricey toiletries, good travel meds and one of the rainbow umbrellas that were so popular there) and time with Alexandra.
She read my cards (did you know my heart chakra is green?) we went out to eat, had drinks (of course) and went for walks with lots of shopping. Dodging and weaving around the cows (as always) I noticed how the Seek men who were often as attractive as their colorful turbans were beautiful so often made me uncomfortable with their intense staring. Something I didn’t notice so much when the kids were with me and was surprised by when Alexandra told me that even my white T-shirt with a V that ended at the base of the neck with a tank under as a second layer was still considered revealing.
She taught me that mala beads are similar to a rosary in that they are often used for different forms of meditation (think chanting the same thing in repetition) and that of the 108 beads, the one at the top is a Buddah Bead. Also that the bracelets (amongst other adornments) of a young couple we saw who were so obviously in love symbolized new marriage.
Excited to have finally got the green sari back my sister had sent me money to have made for her and bummed to have been moved back to an even more humid suite than the room I had been moved to a few weeks before (the word “moist” wasn’t so funny after staying for so long in a place that was always too much of it), my last few moments of part-time freedom were coming to a close. The new group of kids was coming, as was the grand finale of Chris and Jessica.