Lunch with Members of Parliament
Friday, March 5
On Friday, our group had the opportunity to have lunch with younger members of Parliament and Israeli embassy DCM. I preferred lunch meetings because they are less formal and I think people talk more freely than they would in an office meeting room. I got to chat with at least four MPs. One of them told me about an incentive program he started to encourage girls to stay in school and get good grades. He said the girls receive bicycles, clothing, and cash throughout their primary school career. The scheme is working well, so well, in fact, that they’ve extended the program to boys.
On a cultural note, the MPs were delayed coming to the lunch because Prime Minister Singh was making a speech. By then our group had grown accustomed to the, shall we say, “flexible” schedules in India. Given that I’m living in Latin America, I’m very used to people being late, but the Indian culture seemed even more laid back. A person may not even show up to a meeting at all, and their absence is neither meant as inconsiderate, nor is it thought by others to be inconsiderate or out of the ordinary. It’s just a fact. Thankfully, this happened to us only a couple of times, and we just rolled with it.