I am very grateful for my time I got to experience in India. By volunteering my time through the Sankalp Society Christmas Program, I feel I got a real snap shot of the Northern Indian landscape and daily life. It was only a week that I volunteered in the schools, but the beautiful faces of the children will be with me forever. I am blessed to have crossed paths with so many amazing people on this journey who helped make my experience an even better one. This was a trip full of adventure and India really gets you out of your comfort zone. If you like your comforts of home while away on travel, India is not the place for you! Flexibility, non judgement and positive outlook is what will get you through visiting this country like no other.
1. The chia tea – every where you go, they have chia from the small shops, road side markets to restaurants. You can be in the most remote place and they will have and offer you chia. I did get some of the spices and black tea with instructions on how to make when I am back home.
2. The beautiful saris you see the women wearing. They are made of some of the most beautiful material and such vibrant colors. Again, even in the most rural areas the women dressed beautifully.
3. Tuk Tuks – is sort of a love/hate. In the city, best way to get around and so cheap. Can be a little scary but it is also crazy fun as they are flying in and out of traffic dodging people, cows, cars and motorbikes.
4. Dollar goes a long way. 150 rupees is about $2.00 US dollars. When we take the tuk tuks from our house into town we pay about 150-180 rupees. For scarfs we paid no more than 300 or 400 rupees ($4.00-$6.00 US dollar).
5. There is a mystic about this country. Among all the dirt, garbage and mass of people there is also a beauty about it. Very intriguing on how people live there daily life because it is so different from all the people I know in America.
6. Taj Mahal – One of the most beautiful and impressive structures I have ever seen. Blows my mind how they could build something like that in its time.
1. Napkins, toilet paper, tissue and hand towels are a rare commodity. Some of the nicer restaurants will have napkins and when they did, we all grabbed every single one and a few from the next table. Two of our three hotels during our travel time had toilet paper, but very small rolls. I went through 3 economy packs of wet wipes. I used them for everything. Toilet paper, hand sanitizing, drying them out, and using for tissue to blow my nose, washing my body when we had only cold water or no time to shower.
2. Most of the places we stayed or restaurants we went to had western toilets. You can’t put the paper in the toilet like we can back home. You have to put it in a garbage bin next to the toilet. There is this hose next to all the toilets that we still haven’t figured out how people use that and don’t get all wet. In some of the places, they had the squat toilets. A porcelain square with a hole in it and grips on the side for your feet while you squatted. I did not attempt that while I was here.
3. Garbage every where. I can’t figure out why there is no sanitation system here at all. Literally, garbage is everywhere. Plastic bottles, clothes, plastic garbage bags. There is also so much dust. You never really feel clean.
4. The driving here is down right scary. I don’t think there are any traffic rules, there is constant honking. I would never be able to drive here between the cars, trucks, cows, goats, dogs, tuk tuks, motorcycles and people that you have to dodge. It is scary enough just trying to cross the street sometimes.
5. India is every man’s toilet. Every time I looked out the window of a car or tuk tuk I saw a man peeing on the side of the road, on a brick wall, or in the middle of town. You never stepped in any wet spots you saw on the road because you didn’t know what it could be.