Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Ward off that evil eye

There are lots of methods to ward off the evil eye that are culturally specific. Would be nice to know what they are. Th eone we use at home is to burn some red chillies. If there is a lot of smoke, you were being ridiculous and no one evil eyed you. If there is no smoke (the burning throat, burning eyes kind of smoke), you were evil eyed and now it's all clear.

There is something to do with eggs also, which my sister has picked up on since she got married. We marry into these cultural things which is kind of nice.

The point of the post is that I wanted to yell out to the world, I FUCKING LOVE MY JOB. Saying something like this is just inviting willy nilly the evil eye. Will have to find out what the Sri Lankan equivalent to warding off the evil eye is.

There is lots that I still do not get about this country.

Everyone just left the office and I am trying to catch up on some work and then off to see some old friends who have sailed into town for two days. Hopefully some badminton, some talking in Hindi, some talking in Spanish, some food though I find myself not hungry right now at all. Had a huge lunch. Found the biryani (it's not really biryani but that is what they call it here) place that I used to frequent in the town I used to work in but do not anymore and we picked up lunch from there on our way back to the office from the field and I found out from the new staff that I work with that not only is the best biryani in Akkaraipattu but it is in fact from the restaurant that I love, Millath House.

I like the calm at the end of the day.

One thing I want to comment on that pissed me off today, and has done in the past as well, is disaster tourism. Went to a village today to figure out if we are indeed going to be working there. The community is mostly IDP's and have bene moving around for a while. Was collecting secondary data from different local authority sources and all of a sudden we were asked, want to see a family? I was like sure, and without an invite, we just walk into a makeshift gate like thing and up to a shelter where there is a family.

First of all, who the fuck wants into a place uninvited? The whole point of community based work is restoring diginity of people by giving them the authority and ownership of what they would like to do and I understand this can be part of the culture of just being able to walk up, but hey, we aren't part of this community yet, we aren't their neighbours and they might want just a wee bit of privacy. The family (an old lady and two kids) didn't seme to mind but as always, it makes me feel weird to be standing there with a notebook and asking people questions (that they have now been asked a million times probably from similar looking people with notebooks and cameras (we didn't have cameras, thank god) and observing them as if they were in a zoo or something. Pissed me off to no end. I politely walked away and asked the local authority to never do that again when anyone from our team was visiting. Trying to have a whole conversation on dignity that was going to have to be translated was beyond me at that time and it is not that it would have fell on deaf ears, this is what we as the aid community have shown local leaders that we want to see. Cute kids with blue UNHCR sheeting makes a great photo, so we want to take it. Esp with people who are visiting since that is unfortuantely, what they want to see and show to the world. Alert net had some article on this and other agencies talk about this sort of stuff of imaging and how we portray the work that we do. I like the agency I work for. So far nothing I have seen is objectionable, which is a good thing. A good thing for the agency I work for since I am a loud mouth who will throw a hissy fit.

OK, done for today. That's two in a row. Where is my gold star?


Anonymous said...

Man it is awesome to be hearing you talk about this stuff again. =)

I love that lil place!

xx Emma

Iqbal Khaldun said...

Good to hear you're having a great time over there. My grandma has a host of chicken in the backyards with which she occasionally did some sort of anti-evil eye ritual. My method is to have plenty of fibre in my diet.

F. Zehra Rizvi said...

IK, you need to guest blog for me on the chicken thing. I don't get it. Please please please. You would be my second guest blogger, please please please. I want to know what the deal with the chickens are.


Alka said...

See that BIG dot in W. Europe, right over, AMS, that's me :) My dot is bigger than NYC...

I think you can keep writing about the things you do as long as you don't publish anything as the official policy etc.

o, and don't complain about anyone at work.

evil eye...what about wearing a hidden black mark somewhere, like they do to babies with kajal in india? not sure if tattoos count but a brand new evil eye tattoo

Iqbal Khaldun said...

Hehe sure! Um think I'll need to get some further info from my mum.

nesrina said...

In Turkey, wherever you look, you'll meet plenty of eyes looking at you. It is common in the Turkish culture to give a gift of a " Blue Glass Nazar Boncugu ( bonjouk ) " or " Evil Eye Bead " as it is more widely known. People hang a small evil eye amulet from the rear view mirror of their car, keep several small evil eye beads or charms on hand to give to guests, hang an evil eye near their door in the home or office. Glass evil eyes are worn, in the form of jewelry; evil eye bracelets, evil eye necklaces, evil eye anklets, gold or silver evil eye charms and pendants, blue evil eye talismans, evil eye earrings - rings and plenty of evil eye ethnic jewelry sets. Here it is a real evil eye bead paradise.
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