This is a letter I sent by email last night to my most recent chartered accountant who did not show up as planned.  I really was thrilled when I met him.  He is a humanitarian.  I do not doubt that.  He runs an orphanage on his own money.  He has good values.  He said he would not charge.  But he hasn't been back. 

A few weeks ago my accountant left after some problems over the accounts and money that was "lost" and then "found".  His record keeping turned out to have been almost non-existent.  I've now brought in someone to go back and do the accounts for the full year.  I am also having developed an online package (a wonderful donation of time and skills from some supporters.  But overal structure and strategy requires meeting with the chartered accountant.  He agrees to come, doesn't call, doesn't show.

This email will make no difference.  It just helps me to say what I need to say.  I will start again.  I can't apply for grants until I get the records straightened out.  Always there is one thing piled on another on another – requirements that can't be met because I can't find the professional help.  This has nothing to do with my being a foreigner or a woman or white.  If I tell this story to old-timers here, they just shrug in sympathy and tell me this is just how it is.

Dear Mr. XXXX

Now four times you have failed to show up or call after agreeing to meet.  I truly appreciate your positive sentiments about Shishur Sevay, but I simply can't function this way.  On two of these occasions I had also arranged for the computer people developing the software to meet with you here.  This has been the story for three years… appointments, no show, no phone call.  You have a business to run.  So do I.  The end of the year is arriving quickly and you will be even more busy.  Last night I waited;  Your phone was switched off.  Mr. XXX thought you were out of station.  I know you weren't here.


I would say, please charge me your fees and then come, then take this work seriously, but my sad experience in Kolkata is that money makes no difference.  And even if I paid your fees, they are not in the range of the major businesses you represent.  I never despair about the children.  I constantly despair about trying to build infrastructure, find reliable people to work with.  Exactly one year ago I met with a partner from XXXXX &  XXXXXX.  It was a wonderful meeting full of talk of developing strategies for Shishur Sevay.  I never met that man again.  He  was always out of town.  He didn't even do the audit and NONE of the strategies were ever discussed again or carried out.  I was left to decide financial strategy in relation to taxes!  But this year I am no better off.  I was thrilled when we met.  I felt relief.  I don't feel relief now.  I'm just wondering when to place another ad… call the people who didn't call me, start all over again.


I'm sad because it seems in Kolkata whether I get referred by Board Members, internet searches, or the Hand of God as you expressed, it makes no difference.  For me this is a wasteland where I try to protect 12 children and run an honest home, and meet government requirements.  It is a lonely task.


Of course I hope to hear from you, but honestly, if you want to help, I need your presence.  If not, I really must start again.

March is a terrible time to look for a chartered accountant.  But it seems to be my ritual…. the children thrive.  I get very tired.

March 2010
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