Saturday, 20 July 2013

First Steps

Luxury for a night
14 hours of flying, 2 hours of sleep, a narrow flight connection, and too many airplane meals later, we touched down in Delhi safely! We were put up in a swank hotel for the night, and officially started our time here in India with an orientation session the next morning.

CIDA & Shastri welcome us 
Just thought I'd fill you in about what I'm actually here to do. I'm part of the Bringing Youth Into Development internship program, set up by the Canadian government (specifically ex-CIDA, new DFAID). The program partners with various organizations who further set up internships for us. In our case, CIDA partnered with the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, an institute that has been around for over 40 years to strengthen relations between India and Canada. Shastri selected 20 Canadian youth to be a part of the programs, and has found us various projects to work on in 4 locations around India. I, along with 3 other interns, will be working in New Delhi at Udayan Care, which works to develop foster homes, as well as educate and empower young women.

River Roads

We jetted off to our digs for the next 6 months after the orientation session, and got our first real taste of the monsoon season. (Toronto drivers - you got nothing on Indian drivers during a flood). We drove through rivers - literally, kids were swimming in the roads. Any Making Waves Board friends reading this - I really think our next international fellowship should be in India during monsoon season, we wouldn't even need a pool.

monkey on our neighbour's roof

Our apartment is on the third floor of our landlord's building, in a pretty safe "colony" in South Delhi. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, rooftop terrace, pretty spacious, and most importantly has AC.

It's been a fascinating day here so far. Contrary to what some people have told me, it does not smell like piss, roads are not that brutal, and I haven't felt overwhelmed by swarms of people - but then again it was raining heavily. However, I have experienced the wild and reckless driving (it's exciting and pretty similar to Nairobi), as well as beggars pestering your car for $. That so far has been my roughest adjustment - having to blatantly ignore kids who rap on your car window for minutes on end sometimes just for a few rupees. It feels inhumane, cold and disrespectful, but I know its a way of life here, and I've been warned enough that it is what you need to do.

The next few days of orienting ourselves around work & life here should be pretty crazy! Signing off for now! 

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