Blogs » Comments
4 TH November, 2009
(4a) An Indian Hospital and the Lotus Temple
I'm now in the middle of my seventh week in India. I feel more at home here every day. At the same time, I'm constantly seeing and experiencing new things. Getting the chance to really learn so much about another country and culture is such a privilege.
My volunteer work at Udayan Care is going really well. I am still running soccer practice every other evening. The team played another game, this time against a group of adults as a fundraiser. It was fun to watch them hold their own against people two or three times their size. Anna (the other volunteer from Germany) and I have started making posters to decorate the blank walls of the tuition I have been helping a lot of the girls with math, which seems to be a very weak subject for most of them. Many of the girls are missing the fundamentals. It's hard to teach someone how to simplify fractions when they don't know what multiplication or division is. I am helping a group of the younger girls learn their multiplication tables. I have also started running some arts and craft sessions. Right now we are experiencing a bit of friendship bracelet mania in the home.
Last week, I spent a fun (not so much) night at the hospital. Luckily, I was there as a friend, not a patient. Anna had to spend a day hooked up to an IV because of really bad food poisoning "Dehli bell y" is a well known tourist warning for a reason. While at the hospital, my job was to walk downstairs every hour to buy medicine. Then I would bring it up to the doctors so they could administer it to Anna. The hospital requires every patient to have a "caretaker" stay the night with them to do this. Seem a little inefficient? At least I can now say that I spent the night in an Indian hospital.
Once she had recovered, Anna and I took a trip to Delhi for a volunteer meeting. Getting to Delhi from Greater Noida is quite the process. We have figured out how to take the bus (three different ones each way). Getting to our final destination is mostly a matter of asking every bus driver we see where they are headed. Before coming to India, I was warned about the buses here being extremely crowded, hot, and often smelly. This is all true. But the buses are also a lot of fun, with loud Hindi Bollywood music blasting and a steady stream of peddlars hopping on and off to sell coconut slices or roasted corn. There is so much to see out the window, from women clad in bright sarees to stands selling sweets for upcoming festivals. For some reason, whenever I'm sitting, or as is more often the case, standing on the bus (often with sweat dripping down my face and an elbow or two poking into my sides) I feel especially happy to be in India. I like knowing that I am experiencing something so different from what I am used to.
While in Delhi, Anna, another volunteer Paula, and I visited the Lotus Temple. As we were taking pictures of the temple, many of the Indian tourists were taking pictures of us. Some people attempted to do so sneakily. Others came up and asked us to pose with their families. I wonder how many family scrapbooks I'll wind up in...
This update was too long for one post so check out "(4b) Diwali" for the rest...