I have learnt a number of lessons from my trip to India so far:
- Don’t bring 40kg of luggage/baggage
- Don’t rely on the kindness of airport staff to turn a blind eye towards an excessive weight allowance
- Don’t leave a sharp vegetable knife in rucksack
- Don’t make the airport announce for you to board the plane because you were busy telling your family about the knife incident
- Don’t let an Indian taxi driver drop you off in a rough location near the destination at night
- Don’t get on the back of a motorbike with 40kg of luggage/baggage
- Don’t let the motorcyclist drop you at the wrong location and then drive off
- DO bump into friendly American travellers who are happy to take you to the hostel and carry your bags
That was all before I arrived!
Since then, I’ve been on an orientation week in Pune with a fun group of interns (Mark, Carlo, Christina, Becky, Isabelle and Selina) and Intern Coordinator (Megan). We travelled by train for 3 hours to reach Pune, going through some amazing forests with waterfalls in the distance.
Our orientation week involved loads of different activities. We were staying at a hostel for volunteers with Deep Griha Society, which is an incredible organization running a wide range of projects in the local area. One day we visited the office of a local charity called Equal Community Foundation, which seeks to challenge gender stereotypes by running educational programmes and employing local men to mentor teenage boys. It was such a privilege to meet them and helped to remind me why I love development.We also visited a school for blind children, which had limited resources but was building a new school with vastly improved facilities.
During our free time we went to a few different places: the market, a temple, a church and Jazz Café, which had a live band with a particularly funky pianist. Today I am leaving to start my placement in an orphanage, which will involve teaching English, playing sports and providing tuition, so I'm really looking forward to getting started!
|City Streets in Pune|
· I thank God for arriving safely, even though the journey was a bit crazy!
· There are so many incredible sights in India, from the tranquil forests to the chaotic markets
· There is a general sense of altruism across towns and cities
· The majority of Indians are able to practice acts of worship without facing discrimination or hostility from others
· The rate of extreme poverty is gradually declining
· I pray that communities across the region will be resilient to possible flooding during the monsoon season
· There’s a lack of social support for the poorest in society, who are far more likely to experience malnutrition and poor sanitation
· The spread of HIV/AIDS is a major concern in India as well as in neighbouring countries