Feb 232011
 

Delhi

I arrived at 9:30 Delhi time on frebruary 21st. Moments after getting out of immigration at the airport, cultural shock made it’s onset.

Getting a taxi to get me to my hotel for the night -I booked one night at one called Eurostar Hotel, since my plane to Jaipur was’t off until 6a.m. next day- proved to be quite a challenge. Many people will tell you not to worry about the language issues when you come to India because actually many  indians do speak english and that is true, what’s also true is that many of them don’t, and even among those that do, getting to understand the accent is quite difficult. It was nearly impossible to communicate with the pre-taxi contractors at the terminal -wich is the safe ride you should take when you et here-, I had to get help form a salesman at a cellphone store to transcibe the address of my hotel to hindustani instructions so that they know where to drive me. So, an hour after I was finally ready to go outside the terminal to catch my cab.

The smell outside could only be described as perfectly adequate in the midst of a foggy, crispy night,  a mix of incense and herbs that instantly fill the nostrils and get to your head, stating that you are -clearly- in a different side of the world.

The taxi driver completely ignored the address I gave him and instead -they get payed on comission for doing so, as I learned afterwards- took me to a cheap budget hotel, saying it’d be better and less expensive than the one I booked, it’s only necessary to refuse the service to get the driver to take to to your actual hotel and so I got there to sleep for some few hours (or at least I tried to, failing at every attempt), filled with excitement before my departure to Jaipur on the next day.

Jaipur

40 minute flight, 20 minute wait at terminal for my pick-up car, 10 minute drive and that was it, I arrived Idex’s volunteer Jaipur camp, the house is actually very nice compared to what I expected, we got beds, shower, hot water tap, dinning room, kitchen and a very nice lady called Rinku who cooks for us so it’s a very comfortable homestay. I arrived at 7 30 and some od the volunteers working here were already up and having breakfast, on a hurry to get ready  to go to their own program locations, I was welcomed to sit at the table and eat with them while the house came to full activity and different people sat and stood up from the table, exchanging brief chats about what they do here, their places of origin, general tips about the city and the life in here, etc. After 20 minutes or so everyone was out to their programs and since newly arrived volunteers don’t get to do any planned activities for their arrival day I was suddenly alone in the house. It thought I’d spend the whole afternoon just wandering around the house, until two volunteers, a girl from Medellin, Colombia and another from Geneva, Switzerland who were about to leave to their women empowerment program and said I could come along and so I did, off to my first volunteer experience…

Women empowerment is a program with the aim of helping Indian women discover their own abilities aside from being housekeepers so that they realize about their own possibilities to progress in life. It was a really nice thing seeing women 30 to 40 years old learning, specially when Naïc -my friend from Geneva- asked the translator to congratulate her for completing a whole repetition of the alphabet, you could see the big, proud smile in her face and immediately understand as to the whys of teaching these people…

The day at the program was great in the overall, playing games, dancing and watching the Indian girls give lots of gifts to Laura (Colombia) because it was her last day, even when they have little or no money at all, it’s the kind of things that get to you. I am now anxious to start working in my own program and see how it goes for me.

Tomorrow it’s my last orientation day and on Friday is finally off to work finally, I can’t wait…

   

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