Monday, November 19, 2012

Nov 19: Our arrival in Delhi, the Taj Mahal and our project orientation

Day 1

We arrived at the Vancouver airport and found out that our flight was delayed by two hours which resulted in us missing our British Airways connection in London, so instead they put all of us on an Air India flight to Delhi.

Day 2

We made it to Delhi! After 16 hours in flying time and 6 hours in layovers. Thankfully everyone has a good sense of humor about everything, as it was a marathon of a trip. We all arrived safely in the Delhi Airport minus Larry's bags, after he went to go to find out about his bags there was a miscommunication and we lost Larry! After finding Larry and finally getting to our hotel we were 7 hours behind schedule. Unfortunately this cut into site seeing time in Delhi, so our guide Paul did his best to show us some highlights of the city until we were all so exhausted. Processing this giant city boggled our minds. Some were so tired in fact that they fell asleep at the dinner table in the restaurant!

Driving around in our tour bus in Delhi was an adventure all on it's own. Delhi driving is like being inside a pinball machine that has 100 pinballs going at once and their all honking at each other constantly. The sights we saw that night included going inside a beautiful Sikh temple, checking out the local food bank that feeds 10,000 people daily, driving past the area where all the embassy's are located and seeing Qutub Minar which was a very tall tower built entirely by hand.

Day 3

We woke up bright and early to make a day trip to Agra. First we went to the Taj Mahal, which was an amazing experience and for us personally was the most amazing thing we have ever seen! The sheer size of it and the amount of work it took is unbelievable. All the marble had to come from Rajasthan by elephant and was chiseled by hand.

Next we went to the Red Fort, which was also an amazing site to see. It's an ancient military defense post that has served a number of different functions for many years, including being a King's home and a prison. We were so lucky to have Paul with us over the few days in Delhi, he watched out for our safety and always made sure we were not paying too much for anything. He is very knowledgeable, has a great sense of humor and fit right in with our group:)

Day 4

In the morning our guide Paul took us on a walking tour of a huge Delhi street market. This market included everything from car parts to shoes and everyone was trying to get us to buy something. After the market we had to go straight to the airport to catch our flight to Udaipur. We arrived at the airport and met up with our Team Leader, Tim and his wife Debbie. The flight was on a smaller plane and even though it was only and hour trip we all felt nauseous by the end of it. Our first impression of Udaipur was a good one, we saw a lot less garbage on the main streets than Delhi. We didn't get to see much of Udaipur as we headed straight for our hotel in Rajsamand but we will get to have a better look at Udaipur when we return this weekend. Our drive to Rajsamand revealed a completely different side of India from the big city. We enjoyed passing through villages and seeing some of the rural lifestyle.

Day 5

Our hotel in Rajsamand is cleaner than our stay in Delhi and we finally had time for a good nights sleep. We had our orientation with the Host Partner,  Jatan Sansthan, all day. We learned about their organization and everything they do, and were amazed at the variety of programs they have! The organization has about 60 staff and we met about 12 of them today and they are all very friendly and welcoming. Even the District Leader (Mayor) was there to say a few words, he was followed by camera crews and news stations who also interviewed our Team Leader, Tim. This is the organizations website if you want to read more about them:

We learned about what our first week here will look like. We have been broken into three groups and will be building a children's bathroom and also doing outreach work within some of their programs:) Tomorrow we get to observe a village meeting that will bless the work site before we begin construction. Were not sure what to expect but we are very excited and ready to start! After meeting with the organization, district leader and the planner of the bathroom project, it feels like we are about to be a part of something big for Rajsamand!

Talk to you soon!
Kyra & Josh
DWC Participants
India, November 2012

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