Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Monkeying around

Hi everyone, Lily here!

Summarising today: we joyfully survived!

This morning, having fought the urge to "have just another 5 minutes" after the 3rd time, we dragged ourselves out of bed, and prepared (physically and mentally!) for the day ahead! We left the YWCA in taxis, with the expectation of a similar day to yesterday, that is: making crafts with the children or painting an underwater or jungle room! What we didn't expect though, was the craziness of the journey that lay ahead! In our car, we delegated tuneee control to Tommy, but upon our arrival at Seelampur, we were excitedly informed by the girls in the other car that an elephant had been spotted! Katie was super excited and hilarity ensued when Victoria also excitedly pointed out a "camel" that was actually a broom! 😂😂 After this, we entered a time of daily devotion lead by Subodh, singing in both English and Hindi, or at least attempting to! We then split into our teams, either doing a turtle craft with the boys or finishing off the painting, which was fantastic, if we do say so ourselves! :P

After this, while others continued with the painting, a few of us visited some more of the slum. We visited the homes of several Asha volunteers and workers, and sat in on part of a women's group meeting, learning about the work the women can do within the community when even slightly empowered! It was truly inspiring, and visiting one bedroom homes that housed up to 12 people at one time was a real reality check in my opinion! What amazed me most was that even though the houses weren't what we'd consider homes, the owners made every attempt to keep them clean and present them nicely; they felt such a sense of ownership over their small plot that they somehow transformed them from what could have been small bare shells into warm homes that accommodated their family life!! It was really amazing to see, and really reminded me to be grateful for my home, with electricity, clean water and my own bed! I have to say though, I was very glad that Asha workers accompanied us around, because I definitely would have got lost in all the twists and turns and alleyways of the slum!

After this, we returned to the Asha Centre for an awesome lunch spread, in which our end of the table experimented with crisp sandwiches, masala flavoured crisps (which I think only Ena enjoyed!) and nutella on banana 😂 side note: Katie's recipe for a great summer snack when the BBQ is out is a banana split - with the skin on - sliced in half, with nutella in the middle, and optional brandy poured on top, wrapped in tin foil, and BBQ'ed! Apparently goes down a treat!!

We then travelled from Seelampur to Old Delhi to go to the spice market! This was quite an unforgettable adventure, from the very start! After a lot of walking past the Red Fort (a beautiful red fort -hence the name- that in its prime I bet would have flourished with a lovely moat!) we just crossed the road to enter the market... Or attempted to... There's no such thing as "just crossing the road in Delhi"! It's a whole process, involving: stepping out in blind faith, some hand signalling for oncoming vehicles to stop, and some frantic running and weaving in between moving vehicles when all else fails!!So, having made it across the road with the help of some lovely students from Asha, we entered the main road of Old Delhi, along which there must have been hundreds of shops and stalls! We somehow managed to stick remotely together, despite the hundreds of people pushing and shoving and weaving in and out of the heaving crowd! It was completely wild, and to even understand remotely what it was like, you'd have to imagine Oxford Street, London, on Christmas Eve, with added motorcycles on pavements and the very real threat of pick pockets adding to the fun! So overall, a really crazy experience, both there and back! The actual stall itself with the spices was really lovely, selling everything from loose nuts and bagged spices! And, as a lovely surprise, they gave us some complimentary spices and rose water for our purchases, so that was an added team bonus! And best of all, we saw a monkey!! A wild monkey!! It was jumping around and swinging from the loose wires, and was a real treat to see, and was probably one of the cheeky highlights of my day!!

In conclusion, a blessed and full day, full of laughs and memories, and many new experiences as well as important reminders! Looking forward to tomorrow, and a good sleep on our rubberised coir beds! :D

Lily xx

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