Blog / From The Fellows / Musings of a Newbie

Musings of a Newbie

Sahil Philip
Fellow, Morena
Published on April 24, 2024 |

With one month having rolled by since I joined The Antara Foundation (TAF), I decided to pen down and reflect on my journey so far. After having traversed for miles to reach the remote edges of the district, hopping, and skipping around the murky trenches and eating my meals on the road, I have garnered myriad experiences over the course of thirty plus odd days. Whilst documenting everything that I have undergone over the past one month might seem a tad bit long and overwhelmingly emotive to write, I could do a better job salami slicing my learnings into small little nuggets.

Patience – The first and most important skill that I have learnt over the past one month – perhaps the sharpest tool in my negotiation arsenal. Much of my work involves educating, counseling, and informing the community and frontline healthcare workers on various aspects of health and nutrition. The work isn’t rocket science, but it takes an effort to ensure that your message has been passed on, understood, and digested by the listener. This involves being patient to gauge their diverse understanding abilities and giving them the required time and effort to successfully communicate your message.

Theraav – This one’s special. Yes, it means patience but for me, I see theraav more as a way of life than a skill. My entire decision of packing up my suitcase and leaving for the field was grounded on the fact that I wanted an out from the mechanized (or corporatised) hustle bustle that city life guarantees you. It just wasn’t my thing to conform to that mold. Over the past one month, I have been so warmly received by an entire beehive of people – my Antara team (more on them in a bit), the driver bhaiyyas who drive me around to different edges of the town, the frontline workers who display such heartwarming sincerity and happiness in the way they engage with me and lastly, the community, with whom, although my interaction has been limited, have been gracious and generous. Seriously, can’t thank them enough for accepting a lanky-awkward 22-year-old into their tiny universe.

Eccentricity – The fuel to everything we do at TAF! It’s the reason we keep our engines running long after our “work hours” end or why we don’t feel the pinch of having skipped a meal – only to ensure that we do whatever we can to deliver healthcare services to the last mile. And I mean it to the T! I have been mesmerized since day one by the commitment and passion my colleagues (across different districts of Madhya Pradesh) show when it comes to work. It’s as infectious as it can get.

Before I joined, as part of my job description, I was promised that I would get my finger dirty but at this point, perhaps my entire hand is! The everyday experiences of working on the field continue to dazzle, astonish, and educate me so much, that I can only be so thankful for this life that I have been given.

“The best solutions to complex problems often come from those closest to the issues.”