Lisbeth Refsgaard from Norway writes…

Lisbeth Refsgaard from Norway, who at 13 (nearly 14!) was the youngest participant in the IRN Forum in Udaipur, writes…

Because Karen (Refsgaard) and John (Bryden) were participating in this Forum, I got to see India, something that I’m very thankful for. Although it was a conference for adults , I found some of it quite interesting. A lot of it was hard to understand, it was difficult language with many new words. But it was interesting to meet so many people who were supportive, and wanted to help and see how rural communities in India work. I realized that if you are a good speaker and know your stuff it is much easier for the listeners to follow. For example, I went to Petter Jensen’s presentation about ecological sanitation systems and he knew his stuff very well, so he didn’t look at the screen all the time. And he also brought some humor into the presentation at times. It was very precise, and a good presentation.

The field trip was great! Karen (my mum) and I went on the Seva Mandir trip and I found a lot of the people in the villages smiling and very happy. It was good to see, and although we saw a lot of discrimination against women, many of the women also seemed happy. It didn’t seem to bother the women we talked to, but you never know.

I also met Baburao Baviskar, actually before the conference, but we talked mostly during the conference. He told me a lot about the caste system in India. That I enjoyed very much, because that is something I am interested in. John had already told me some things about caste, but when I talk to Baburao I got to know even more. He also told me about the Hinduism, and it was quite a coincidence, because that was what we were learning about in school just at the same time. It’s fascinating talking to someone with so much knowledge!

There were not only people from India, Britain and Norway, but also from Italy, Africa, and Israel, Canada, Pakistan, and Australia, and many other places That was good. because then we got a lot of different peoples’ views on the things we discussed. I liked it when …(the woman from kenya) stood up in the last session of the Forum and made us clap along with her song. I think it raised our spirits!
There were only three things I found a bit disappointing. First, it was always the same people participating in the discussions and asking the questions, but I bet that has something to do with each ones culture and personality. Second, the microphones didn’t always work that well, but I think that was just a technical problem. And that can be solved! Third, Baburao’s daughter, Amita, coudn’t come. I was very excited about meeting her, and was so disappointed!

In the end, all I want to say is that I found the conference great and inspiring. It was a wonderful experience to see both positive and negative sides of India. It gave me many things to think about when I got home, and inspired me to return again some day!download 8MM 2 Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol movie download Welcome to the Jungle movies Hot Shots! Part Deux movie Harper film

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