Thursday, February 7, 2013

One month in!

Well, we (Annie and Shantel) have been here in Delhi for one month.  What a month its been!  India has been a huge shock to our senses on every level.  Culturally, this is the most foreign either of us has ever felt.  We have had to quickly adopt simple phrases in Hindi and learn about the customs of a culture very different from home.  Just the short walk to work presents a multitude of unfamiliar sights, smells, and sounds.  I'm proud to say that we have become accustomed to all these things and our little apartment is slowly starting to feel like home.  Not only have we been slowly adjusting to just living in Delhi, we have also had the opportunity to see so many amazing projects with Maitri.

Serving the Widows their midday meal
After being here only one week, we made our first trip to Vrindavan to meet the widows.  It was a life changing experience for both of us.  We met women at two ashrams and got to have the humbling experience of serving the widows their midday meal.  They were all so grateful for the meal we served them.  We also had the opportunity to help move eight widows into a new housing arrangement.  They were all so excited and we were thrilled to share that special day with them.  Its truly unbelievable that anyone would cast out such wonderful kind souls to live on the the street.

Some of the lovely Widows, waiting in line for their ID card registration

This lady is quite a character!!!

Rickshaw pullers 
Just last week, we attended a mega health camp in Karol Bagh, Delhi.  The main event of the health camp was the distribution of voter ID cards to over 250 rickshaw pullers from the district.  Maitri also managed to enroll 100 new rickshaw pullers into the program.  It was great for us to be a part of this event and to see lives being changed all around us.  The most striking take home message came from the children of the slum.  Even living in such terrible conditions, they had no complaints.  They were full of life and thrilled to share their home with all of us.   

From these two events we have taken home similar messages.  Both the slum populations and the widows of Vrindavan are a testament to how little we actually need to survive.  Back home, we are used to our comforts, and think they are quite necessary.  The truth of the matter is, we need clothing, shelter, nutrition and, most importantly, the company of those we love. 

If we have experienced all this in just one month, I can’t begin to imagine what I’ll have to say in May!
This little girl was fascinated by our blonde hair!
Spending some time with the kids in the slum
With some of the students at Maitri's Vocational Training C

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