Auroville India

Ethnographic Journal Entries

Hierachy/Division of Labor

Organization: Naturellement Garden Cafe

Location: Auroville, South India

Time: ~0930

Date:  4 January 2016

I rode my bike to my internship today. It was hot as usual and the sun shined intensely as it burned through my pink rain jacket. No occurred, but I like to be prepared. Cows bombarded the street walking at an ants pace. Mopeds I arrived to Naturellement and parked by bicycle parallel to other bikes that belonged to the workers. The women in the office report to Martina, the owner of Naturellement and they talked really quietly when giving her a report from the meaning. The atmosphere seemed not as calm or light as the other days. “I don’t know, I don’t know, I’m sorry” is all I heard from the two women in the office, who are usually on their computers clicking vigorously through files. I assumed something had happened because no one was smiling as I usually saw. Martina being the boss is usually in high spirits, but something had happened at a meeting with her staff without her presence, something major had taken place. When the other workers tried to walk through the two women gave them a not so pleasant glare and they walked outside and around the office which connected their normal transit. I think the women in the office had some kind of authority over the other women. It seemed this way because the women in the office spoke English while the women who worked in the kitchen or production did not speak English. The women in the office were educated and could use technology. The other women were obviously paid more than the women who cooked, cleaned and served in the café and production. I was told by the receptionist who is a 22 year old local Tamil that no one is over anyone and that all of the workers were on the same level. I saw this differently. I asked her how long she had been working at Naturellement and she responded “I’ve been working here for 6 years, but people come and go all they time for various reasons. I can do everyone’s job here, it’s easy.” For me personally, it is hard to believe that there is no hierarchy. In every organization there is some type of organization whether it is recognized or not.  The way that the women in the office talk to the women who work in the kitchen is unbelievable. There was an older woman who came to ask a question in Tamil to the receptionist who is of 22 years of age, may I remind myself, but this girl snarled her lips, rolled her eyes and had a not so pleasant tone. The two women in the office did the same thing to other women who worked in the kitchen and also tended to suck their teeth when talking. They did this to people who seemed to be in their eyes, less than them.

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