Monday, 29 July 2013

In the Middle of a Zoo

It has been an incredible, overwhelming, exhausting, hot, and fascinating first week here in Delhi! The heat and humidity is tremendous - I'm sweating out more liquids than I take in and my hair's in permanent buddha bun. I am eagerly anticipating the onset of September!

Living room in our apartment! Classy plastic white chairs!
The rains on our first day may have given me a misperception; Delhi is crowded and smelly and the streets are scattered with plenty of poop - human, dog, cow or otherwise. The heat doesn't help the stench (but I'm sure we don't smell like roses either). It's an adventure nonetheless! Speaking of animals, I've seen a monkey on a neighbour's roof, a lizard in my bathroom, a pigeon in my kitchen, plenty of stray dogs, and cows mulling about on the roads. Who needs a zoo right?!?

Getting around Delhi is a breeze - the city built an incredible metro system a few years ago connecting most major parts of the city. Big points for the AC, women's only car, and the fact that men can get fined for serenading a woman whilst riding the metro. To all my family who warned me about the metro - I've been keeping my elbows up, and you'd be proud of how well I can push through people! Rickshaws and autos are also so easy to use (except for when the drivers don't understand our haphazard Hindi), but we've gotten so accustomed to haggling down prices here! I have an immense respect for rickshaw cyclists and their legs of steels, and am seriously considering taking it up as both a part time job and work out.

Dance performance portraying the rights & challenges of Muslim women.
I started my first week at Udayan Care, the organization that I've been placed with. You can check out more about their programming here: I'll be working to develop the Shalini fellowship program. I can't publish much more about my work as it is of a sensitive and private nature, but please read more about what our organization does on the website! It's been an amazing and inspiring week so far, as we've had the chance to immerse ourselves with the programming, the beneficiaries, and the brains behind the organization.

My team at India Gate
I haven't had much of a chance to see Delhi yet as we've been busy working, or recovering from the heat. We've done a bit of shopping, plenty of eating, and met tons of amazing people. We've met quite a few expats/foreigners working at NGOs here, but our local friends live up to the truth about Indian hospitality, and have gone out of their way to make us feel comfortable and welcome. India Gate was the best experience this week - the gate is a monument to the Indian soldiers who died in WWII. Surrounding the gate is an expansive park, full of families and friends from various income classes enjoying their evening. It was a poignant example that no matter who you are, or how much you have, we all find contentment in the little things.

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