Volunteering in India!

Trip Start Jul 28, 2009
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Trip End Aug 10, 2010


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Where I stayed
SAV Girls Education Centre

Flag of India  , Haryāna,
Sunday, January 3, 2010

After a short flight from Bangkok, we got stuck on the runway for 3 hours because of the fog.  The only good thing was we had our individual movie screens so I watched a movie while waiting patiently.  When we finally got our luggage, we were met by Anante from the volunteer organization.  It was interesting to watch all the men with their turbans.  I asked why some of them had such pointed turbans and he told me that they were “sick”.  It sounded like he said they were all sick, but its the name of the religious group “Sihk” from the Punjab region.

It was 2 am, when we got outside to catch a taxi and we were hit with the cold.  It was funny to see everyone wearing blankets as their jackets.  We got into an antique taxi car that looked like something out of the 1950's.  When he stopped to put gas in the car, he lifted the hood and put the hose in a canister under the hood.  Weird place for a gas tank

We woke up the next day and headed out to a small region called Faridabad.  We met with Dr. Bandhu, who was in charge of placing all the volunteers at their projects.  Most of the volunteers was from USA and Canada and it seemed that they were mainly medical students.  He then took us to the orphanage which was just outside the small town of Palwal.  The first person I remember meeting was Babazee (which means grandfather), he was dressed all in white with a white turban and since it was cold, he had a HOT pink robe over it.  It looked funny because I believe it was a woman’s robe!

They made us some food and we ate with our hands which we had experienced in Thailand, so it wasnt anything new.  The food was good with the chipatee bread and dal.  Nik loved the Chai tea that they gave us at least 4 times a day.  I wasnt quite expecting our room and toilet to be so basic, and it didnt help that it was so cold! 

The orphanage has 46 children and 7 of them are mentally retarded.  About 20 girls and the rest boys.  There was a lot of brothers and sisters at this orphanage.  All the young girls, 10-15 years old, did the cooking for everyone at the orphanage. They had a good system going with feeding all the children and one of the older girls would watch the younger ones while they sat in the hallway on the cold floor and ate with their hands.  The girls slept in two rooms and there was a little boy of 3 years old that also stayed with the girls.  The boys room was off in the back.  They also had a school below the orphanage and every morning there was a couple of rickshaws that delivered 175 children from the nearby villages to go to school.  I couldn’t believe how many kids were in these rickshaws.  They were building another school in the back for the older children.

The frustrating thing for me was that the children would not let me help with anything.  I wanted to help clean and cook but they all shooed me out the kitchen.  If I tried to sweep my room, they would take the broom from me!

NIKOLAS VERSION

WOW! I have never been to such a crazy place in my life. You have cows, bikes, people, big trucks, cars, sheep, monkeys and pigs all in the streets and the constant honking.  I just can't see grandma or grandpa coming to India, they would go crazy. They must not get a lot tourists where we stayed because they just come up to your face and keep staring at you.  There is no personal space.  It is a crazy place  and the only bad thing for me is that there is no toilet paper!
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