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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I'm in India!!!

Hello everyone! I’ve been in India for almost two weeks now – I know, I know, it has taken me a while to post about it. Here’s why: Internet. It turns out the Internet is ridiculously hard to come by in India. We’ve tried Internet cafes, we’ve tried bumming of wifi at the church, we’ve gone to neighbors, etc. We were supposed to have Internet in our apartment (that’s what HELP told us before we got here) but our landlord signed us up for the worst Internet company in India and though they said it would be activated last week, it has yet to work. So we bought a mobile wifi hotspot from another company, but apparently there was a 200mb data limit on our monthly plan, and we used it all in one night (we paid for unlimited, so this is their problem, not ours). Anyway, if it sounds like I’m frustrated it’s because I am. The Internet is not the important thing – it’s only a minor set back. The important thing is…


Yes, I really am here. And it is amazing. Overwhelming. Crazy. Awesome.

After a 5-hour bus ride to NYC, 7-hour plane ride to London (yay, London! Favorite place in the world), and 10-hour plane ride to Hyderabad, I finally arrived! On the flight to London they fed us and then I gave it back to them in a barf bag when we hit turbulence. In the London airport I was able to find one of the other volunteers – I determined it was him because he was wearing a BYU shirt. 

His name is Eric Townsend, and we arrived in Hyderabad together. After a little hold up at the immigration desk because I didn’t have an in-country address and phone number, Eric and I retrieved our luggage and were greeted by Julia and Ben, our country directors. It was around 6:30am. We spent the rest of the first day calling home so our parents would know we were alive and setting up the apartment our CDs procured for us the day before. It’s an awesome apartment – a full service apartment. So basically it’s like a hotel with room service and breakfast and dinner cooked for us every day, filtered water brought to our door, etc. The best thing about the apartment is that we have AC. It’s so lovely. We picked up the other volunteers in the following days.

And then there is Hyderabad. It’s definitely a different world. The driving is crazy. They don’t follow the traffic lines, and they barely follow the traffic lights. The auto rickshaws drive up and around and in between all of the other cars and moped/scooters, somehow never touching each other. It’s amazing. Somehow I feel safer riding in an auto than in a car. The cars are bigger and scarier. The rickshaws are a bit more mobile. We’ve had some really awesome auto drivers. One guy had his little boy riding with him, and the boy understood English pretty well so he was laughing at everything we said. His dad was teasing us as we went. It was great. Some of the drivers sing while they go, and some of the younger drivers have sound systems and radios in their autos. It’s awesome. Love it.

And then there’s the food. It’s amazing. So good. Hyderabad and southern India in general is known for being spicy, and that’s not a lie. However, I have loved every meal I’ve had. Favorite things to eat are masala dosa for breakfast and ghee sweets. I love the sweets. I think I’m the only person in my group who truly does.

The group! You need to know who the people in my group are! With Help Intl volunteers come in waves. As part of the first wave, we have Eric Townsend from Oklahoma and BYU, Eliza Dowdle from Holladay and the U of U, Annie Pinnock from Holladay and BYU, and Meera Andersen from Orem and UVU. Our country directors are Ben Reichert and Julia Darley. Bottom line: everyone is awesome. We have a few more people joining us in June and July, but I kind of feel bad for them because our wave is already so close. I’m sure they’ll fit in just fine.

And now to the important part of this post: the service! We have already started three projects and have plans for many more. Today we held our first session of summer camp for kids in the slums. We’re reviewing school concepts and playing games and such to get them ready for the new school year that starts in a couple of weeks. Tomorrow we hold the first session of GLOW right after summer camp. GLOW is an empowerment group for teenage girls in the slums. We’re going to be talking about leadership, health, maturation, self-esteem, and many more things. I hope it goes well. We have also started work on getting five bore wells underway. I’m helping make a video for the fundraising part of that. I’ve already been able to film a bunch of stuff – so glad I brought my camera.

Projects to come: painting educational murals on school walls, possibly working in a hospital with leprosy patients, teaching English classes to community members, and many more.

So much fun! So much to do! We are very busy.

And this weekend we are taking a trip to Bangalore! It will be wonderful. Keep checking back for updates.


1 comment:

  1. Jenny I am so excited for you. This sounds like an amazing opportunity, look forward to more posts. You are truly an inspiration. HUGS!!!!

    Angelica! :)