16/08/2015 | 24 hours of travelling is over!
Waking up to the smell of eggs being cooked and loud yawning was all very familiar for a typical Sunday morning - even in India! But we had 'chai' instead of a cup of tea, and to our surprise, we liked it! With a bit of jet lag still hovering over some of us, today was to be a relaxed day to get us into the spirit of what we will be doing here.
First things first... Orientation.
We were given a full tour of our volunteer house and told the 'rules' such as, clean our own bathrooms, take out our rubbish bins and take note of the washing up rota!
We took a short walk to a small local shop and for those missing some home comforts all ready, we had the opportunity to buy some luxury snacks like chocolate! We bumped into a few local children and cows - yes, more cows - we will get used to the 'moooo' sound around here for sure!
After lunch, Pankaj, one of the ground staff working with us, gave the group a Hindi lesson. We found out more more about the culture of India, the traditions and even issues here like child marriage and poverty. So many questions were asked and the session was really insightful! Some common phrases and Hindi words were taught... With so many new sounds, rolls of the tongue and nasal noises the group turned into what sounded like a room full of sheep and cows!
At 5pm every week day, we will be heading to a local boys orphanage and today we were going there to look around, find out more about the home and to introduce ourselves! Every single person was looking forward to this!...
We were greeted with waves and smiles and the group were so excited to go and meet the boys but first we were shown around. Reality struck. There are over 100 boys living in the orphanage and in some rooms there were more than 20 beds with just one small box for ALL of their possessions. "I was looking around the room and picturing it compared to my own bedroom at home that I have all to myself.. I have everything and they literally have nothing! But they still smile and they are still so happy!" said David
Outside in the grounds of the orphanage we met the boys, some of who were hanging their washing in the trees! Dancing, laughing, handshake routines and even 'selfies' were just some of the ways we were all introduced to one another. Before long it was time to leave and the journey back to the volunteer house was a moment of reflection and conversation around the comparisons between 'home' for us and 'home' for them. "We had a wicked time meeting all of the boys but at the same time is was well upsetting" said Ed.
India is a truly remarkable place where we have encountered amazing experiences everyday!!
"Being here is just mind blowing but after visiting the orphanage we will be volunteering at and knowing we will actually be teaching in a local school, has just left an indescribable feeling.....how can I put words to something you can't describe?" David reflected.
The evening was a chilled one, and some emotions were high after all we had learnt just in our first whole day here, so we wrote in our journals, sat and played games and shared our experiences of the day.
Another long day is ahead when we will get to visit the school and meet some families in the local community... Let's see what tomorrow brings...