India #2

At the start of the week we had our last day volunteering and teaching the kids from the Elephant Village. The normal teachers wanted to thank us for all our work by celebrating the Holi (colour) festival early with us. We played typical ‘sports day’ races with them such as: egg and spoon race and wheel barrow race. My kid didn’t really understand that you had to use your hands to walk, so i just tucked him under my arm like a rugby ball and ran to the finish line. Needless to say..we won!Image
The colour festival was such a laugh, the children slapped powder paint onto our faces and tried to scrape as much paint off of us and onto themselves. It was carnage. Later that day one of the families invited us into their home (which consisted of 2 rooms), to thank us for all the work we had done with their children. The father thanked us and said since we’d been there the children have been so happy and he wanted to reassure us that we would have great karma coming our way… Here’s hoping! Leaving the kids was very hard for all of us as we bonded with them very quickly, they are all such happy kids even though they have nothing. We still all miss them and the experience we had with them will never be forgotten.Image
The next day we traveled to the Taj Mahal, during the journey our mini bus started jaggering and made gun shot noises. We all woke up with a massive fright thinking we had run over a motorbike or that someone was firing at us! Turned out we just had a flat tire, and by flat tire I mean our tire had actually broken into lots of pieces and our driver had to go and collect them from what is the equivalent of the M4. We eventually made it to the Taj, its more beautiful than any photo or picture can ever portray. There are 4000 people working there in total, which is massive! It’s a stunner.
We traveled back to Delhi and the next day we did ‘Delhi in a Day’
1st Stop. Ghandi’s house where he lived before getting shot dead.
2nd. The Lotus Temple – I loved this temple, its made for all religions to come together. I thought this was interesting because in India people are so shut off from the idea of marrying outside your own religion so often they don’t make much contact with any other religions apart from their own.
3rd. India Gate – Looked just like the Arc De Triomph in Paris
4. Sikh Temple
5. Delhi bazaars – REALLY SCARY. We were being followed by a man in a pink shirt, he would be following us or just to the side of us then he’d pop into a shop, keep an eye on where we were, walk in front of us whilst slyly looking at us. He was very dodgy looking but we all made a point of sticking together even when being the target of some water balloons, which we got drenched in!
All the sellers are so full on when trying to sell but i guess that’s their only way of marketing their products.
Next day we had to wake up at 4.30 to get a train to Haridwar. At the station you have to go through security but it’s terrifying because none of them work! We asked someone about this and they said they just had them there to scare people so they don’t bring anything they shouldn’t. We were all quite anxious after hearing this.
Haridwar is famous for Hindu’s to call to pray in the Ganges river at sunset. The ceremony was so busy and very confusing because we had no clue what was going on, but still very interesting. We got into the Ganges, only our feet, and of course I #LazyLegged in it.
We are now in Rishikesh at a yoga retreat. Our first class is in half an hour which will be funny because me attempting yoga is like a deslecksic on countdown… they just don’t go together. I’m sure our group will do more laughing than balancing. In Ashrum (the place we’re staying at) we have to be quiet the whole time! Really hard for our group to do, but I’ve lost my voice so couldn’t have happened at a better place i guess.

#LazyLeg hits India

On our first day we drove from Delhi to Jaipur. The roads are amazingly scary but amazing none the less! When driving, on one side you see slums, and on the other side, new flats. It’s was just so surreal.

On what would be the equivalent of the M4 there are camels, cows and even elephants! It was a 6 hour journey I will never forget! In a 5 seater truck I counted 19 people. Who knows how many were hidden out of sight. 3 people were actually hanging out the back. Moreover, they have no concept of lanes and use their horns instead of indicators! Imagine the abuse you’d get on the M4!

Although it is something so completely different and something I’m not used too, I’m loving it! We get stared at a lot. It’s strange to have so many people waving at us all the time just because we’re white. This was the first day so I’d imagine we’ll get used to it.

Our second day was rammed full of activities. Firstly we went Bollywood dancing. All 7 of us were in absolute hysterics. The poor instructor tried really hard to teach our unco-ordinated group that had absolutely no rhythm how to dance Indian style. So many laughs as everyone was so up for it and got so involved.

Following this we all got to try on beautiful saris. It’s like when your younger trying on a princess dress (Dad, don’t pretend you didn’t). We all felt like a million dollars.
Lastly we got henna to go with our saris, it was done by the lovely women who is in charge of our hostel (Briya). She did all of ours in such detailed patterns.

Jaipur is incredible, hectic and colourful.  I feel so much more comfortable in India in than I ever thought I would. We have managed to escape illness so far so that’s probably why. We went to the Amber Palace and rode an Elephant. I called mine Nelly. The last few days we were in the desert, we rode camels there and back. I called mine Camel ‘toe’. Following that we stayed at a lovely camp that had a camp fire and T-pee tents to sleep in. The guys cooked us a delicious meal. You could see the stars so clearly is was crazy, Lots of hysterical laughs were had.

On our drive back we saw some kids going to school. It was so sad because the school was mixed and there were hardly any girls. It’s tragic because many of the girls were left at home to help their mothers around the house. Their jobs extended to things such as getting water for their family etc. It was so sad to see, many of them didn’t have shoes either.

So far we have done 2 days volunteer work at a school I’m Jaipur (about an hour away). The village is called the Elephant Village, it’s a compound where only Muslim families are allowed to live. The girls are never allowed to leave the compound because the families feel  the world is too dangerous for them. They can only ever leave if they get married. All the children are so uneducated, they’ve only started the school for 2 weeks now. The kids are very sweet and so happy to see us! They use us like climbing frames to it is exhausting!

On the weekend we ended up going to a village for international women’s day. It was genuinely horrible, we asked the women what there dreams were and some of them were saying that there was no point in even having a dream because they knew they wouldn’t be able to accomplish it. A few of the women got married at 13, first kid at 15 and 10 years later they now have 5 kids. They live between 2 rooms probably only double the size of the office!

The girls here need to be taught from an early age that they should have a career and accomplish things they want to accomplish before they get tied down and baby making. This weekend was one that I just ant get my head around because it is so different! It is so strange and sad to see the difference between the support I had throughout my education and the encouragement I was given to succeed in what I want to do compared to how these children do!