Saturday, May 5, 2012

May 5th: First Impressions of Sikar

I haven't slept in thirty-two hours.

But I seriously could not care less. India is absolutely incredible, and I am trying not to brag, but I can't handle it. Here's the story so far:

All of us (the dozen!) met at YVR and took off at about 1:30 PM on May 3rd.
We got to Shanghai and the airport was so cray. Water bottles were $7 US dollars whereas a Pepsi cost $1. There was no Wi-fi so naturally, we were all dying.

We had a four hour layover and then hopped the next plane to Delhi. It was super weird eating breakfast at 1 AM in the morning (our time). When we were still in the air the temperature was in the thirties! We were all freaking out.

We arrived in Delhi at 1:30 AM and Jerry met up with us from Singapore at 2:30. Madan was there with two vans; we strapped our luggage to the top :). We then drove six hours to Sikar stopping for tea, water and our first Indian bathroom experience.

India is unreal. It's hot and smoggy and has a beautiful desert landscape. There are all of these restaurants and stands on the side of the highway that stay open all night. Lots of Western billboards. We all noticed the poverty right away. There are many buildings on the side of the highway that are rubble and made of corrugated tin etc. The crazy driving in India is so true. There is no such thing as a shoulder check here! They honk at each other all the time to indicate when they want the other vehicle to get out of the way. They also flash their "dippers." There were so many vans moving goods that were all hand-painted and beautiful. They drive on the right side opposed to our left and the lanes on the road mean nothing. Lots of people ride on the top, sides and in the beds of trucks. Babies ride on motorcycles without any helmets or anything!

It was light by 6 AM. We stopped for breakfast along the side of the road. So good! I also got some bomb pants. While driving we saw camels, pigs, cows, baby bison, monkeys, horses, goats, and roosters. We drove through Jaipur which we visit next weekend. It's so cool; I can't even begin to describe it. There's a lot of litter on the side of the roads and in the streets which makes me sad :(. So many people with big stands of bananas and mangoes and ginger. We saw lots of tiny villages and places where people make bricks. We witnessed two couples getting married. Most people waved and smiled and stared at us.

We arrived in Sikar at noon and got a tour around camp. It's so cool! Madan's whole family works and lives here. We are in rooms of two's and three's. There are like five bulls in the backyard. There are bathrooms (Western and Indian-style) and showers with the sinks on the outside of the buildings. There is this huge rec room in the basement and a roof we can hang out on. We share chores, doing dishes and cleaning toilets in pairs each day.

We're all just relaxing (suntanning, setting up our rooms, reading mags) until it's time for tea which is served everyday at four and then is followed by dinner. We have big plans for tomorrow (getting Indian clothes, visiting children and giving them our gifts as well as visiting our work site) and then start work on Monday. I can't wait to begin the project.

I took a shower in the Indian-style shower. I can totally handle bucket style, but Indian-style toilet. Into it? Hard to say. The sinks are outside. So cool!

We drank tea, ate dinner (rice, dal, chapati, pakora, and salad which consists of cucumber and onion). Aron (Project Manager of Youth Touch) introduced us to all of Madan's family. He has three wives! We then had a welcome meeting. Madan is really happy that we are here. It's been three years that DWC Trip Leaders have tried to bring groups over here and Quinn and I are the first to be successful. It's also been a couple of years that Youth Touch has tried to buy land that we will be building on. We were in bed by 9:30 PM.

Alvida, friends! Thanks for reading :)

Torry Harris
DWC Student Team Leader
Sikar, India: May 2012

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