Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Welcome to India!!!!

I am finally in India! It took a really long time to get here....I left on Monday and didn't make it till Wednesday late afternoon. Once I arrived in Chavadi on the bus I had to get off and walk carrying all my things on a dirt road for a little less than a mile. It's totally worth it though, and luckily I didn't pack very much. The area is beautiful! We live in a small village called Chavadi Pudur and it is just outside Coimbatore in Southern India. I am living with a small family that is really nice and friendly to us, like a family away from home.

Last week I went to Shanti Ashram to get started on volunteering there. It is SUCH a cool place. Basically it is a NGO that focuses on the health/poverty alliviation, development,etc. problems in the rural villages around Coimbatore. The Ashram is a big place with lots of trees and vegetation. There is the main office, ampitheater and main building where everything takes place. When I visited they were doing a program to check the Anemia levels of mothers and their children. It was awesome to see. I'm excited to be here for the next few months with all their programs.

The weather has been really cool and rainy. Apparently it is the rainy season here so this type of weather should continue throughout the summer. Luckliy it is a warm rain so it's not like it's freezing cold. Unfortunately, I forgot to pack my umbrella so I will probably have to invest in one here (however, it took me 3 1/2 years in college before I broke down and bought an umbrella so maybe I will stick it out).

The culture of India is so rich and different. I have never been to this part of the world before so I am trying to soak it all in. The majority of the people in the village where we live are Hindu and there are various temples and occasional ceremonies that take place throughout the week. I already saw a baby blessing and a festival for the rain. I will have to write about what Ilearn in later blogs. India really is so unique in that there are SO many different people, religions, history, etc. that influence the culture today.

After preparing for this for so long it's hard to believe that it is really here. But I am excited for everything that I will learn and for being able to (hopefully) understand a different way of life.