One of our blogs from India/Nepal

Posted on January 27th, 2014 by

One of our blogs from the trip:

Sara and Rachael

January 11th, 2014

Today we went to Dharavi, one of the largest slums in Asia. We started out with breakfast at the hotel, then took a bus to the slums. Before leaving the bus, some of us could feel the culture shock purely by just looking out the window. When we did leave the bus, many of us had our first true minority experience. Everyone was staring at us, clear that the people in this area of Mumbai don’t typically see tourists.

The sun was hot and the air was filled with smells. We were all led through the maze of tiny alleyways and reached an open square with a hut. Everyone stared with curiosity and interest, particularly the children. In the hut, we talked to John Manuel who led an information session about the slum. He discussed with us about how there is a wide variety of poverty, and how many of the people living in the slums are generally misunderstood, and are happier than wealthier families because of their satisfaction of having what they need and nothing more. Many of us were surprised by the energy, optimism and color that radiated throughout the slums. Most of the adults seemed somewhat hesitant at first when we entered into their community, though once we smiled they appeared more relaxed and welcoming. The children were more excited to see us and were curious in an innocent sense. They asked us our names, shook our hands, and some wanted to take pictures with us. A big difference we have found between The United States and India is how curiosity is displayed, as Indians are not afraid to stare and show their interest while we are more conservative with our actions.

It was eye opening seeing the variety of lifestyles and careers that occurred in the slums as well, particularly an embroidery place we stopped by. Finalizing our tour of the slums, we sang to the children. They seemed to enjoy the connection and didn’t want us to go. After leaving the slums, we headed back to the hotel for dinner and a discussion. We found there were many conflicting views on the day’s experiences. Some people felt uncomfortable as a result of what we saw, though others felt more welcomed.

The night ended by driving to our first night train experience.  It was a little stressful making sure that everything was organized. We grouped into cabins of six people each, making sure no one was sleeping next to strangers.  Having a curtain as a divider between your group and the rest of the train making it somewhat hard to fall asleep. Regardless of any of these complications, we safely and successfully arrived to Nagpur in the morning.

 

 

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