This is my third attempt at writing this week’s update after power cuts galore and a host of computers that seem to get temperamental just as soon as I want to use them, as obviously my patience is always boundless in regard to prehistoric PCs.
Anyway this week has gone by pretty fast, it’s hard to believe that we have been here a fortnight already. At the same time it feels as though it has been longer because so much happens compared to usual. At the moment I am at the Deep Griha Society Headquarters having just had a meeting about a new proposal that Jenna and I are putting forward for one of the projects. I’ll say a little bit about that later and hope that from a distance I will look like I am being vaguely resourceful and hardworking whilst I write this post.
Hmm, this week started with fireworks after we got into a ha-uge argument with a rickshaw driver who took us round the houses whilst the fare went up and up and then proceeded to chase us down the street when we paid him the amount it was supposed to be. It was the principle, not the money per se haha. Anyway it was just our luck that we had come up against the biggest tallest scariest rickshaw driver on the planet as most of them are shorter than me and not particularly intimidating. Well, a slanging match ensued and a small crowd gathered whilst the guy and Jenna mainly attempted to outscream each other. Oops, I can tend to freeze when there’s that level of confrontation. I think if we were guys he would have liked to put his fist in our faces but alas he had to fight it out like a woman! 🙂 In the end the police came and asked us to go to the station and we kind of thought actually it might be better to give in at that point.
Then we headed over to the tailors about an hour later than planned and the crowd which by that time was filling the whole street dispersed. Boy do they love a drama here. The guys at the fabric shop were really lovely so it was much needed respite from the eastenders episode previous. On a more superficial level the tailor was also very good looking which is always nice! We went to get saris and measured for salwar kameez and we will be returning to that infamous spot to get them in a bit.
On the weekend we went up to a hill station called Mahabaleshwar which is a few hours from Pune. There was a crazy insane woman on the coach with the wrong ticket for the wrong time with the wrong bus company who insisted on rooting herself to a seat that didn’t belong to her. She delayed us for over an hour and after being dragged off by her legs and having a punch up with some guy at the coach station the police came and carefully removed her. Dont think I’ll forget that journey in a hurry she was quite unwittingly funny. We stopped at a place called Panchgani on the way where we stayed for the night and experienced the full extent of the Monsoon. Suffice to say we were woefully unprepared and I discovered that my waterproof hiking boots aren’t monsoon proof. It was so much fun even though the rain was like a sort of continual bucket bath.
We visited a place called Tablelands which is a flat plateau at about 4000ft and resembles what I imagine Mars looks like. It was amazing, and then there was a random derelict fairground which looked spooky in the same way a clown is. Then we saw a sign that took us down to some caves where we sat having chai at tables made from huge tree stumps. We squelched back home eventually and tried to dry out. Semi-transparent clothing is not a good look. The rain was so heavy we stayed in playing (very competitive) UNO since theres not much else on the middle of a mountain. The next day we proceeded to the hill station which was approximately 500 times wetter than anything you could imagine. We went, bought shoes and then took off out of there.
The views when coming down the mountain are simply amazing, it looks as though its a watercolour picture. It’s interesting to note that there isn’t a separate highway code for clifftops/scary mountain sides. Nope, the indians still love to overtake at about 80mph and use their horn for everything but what is arguably the most crucial ie. hairpin bends. Hmm…
Well this week has been fun. Deep Griha celebrated their 30th anniversary so we got our saris just in time for Tuesday’s party/celebration. I have lots of photos but haven’t found a nice computer yet that will allow me to easily upload them. I hope to get them up soon. It was a whole day of singing dancing and awards. We performed two songs – “Oh Happy Day” and “Lean on Me” which Sister Act fans will be familiar with and were presented with roses. They were also Christian songs that people who weren’t Christian would be familiar with. It was so much fun, although there was a mix up and initially it was announced as a duet by me and Jenna!!
This week we also went out to a project that we will be working on called City of Child. It is rural so free from pollution and generally very pleasant and pretty. Its a sort of self contained village for orphaned or semi orphaned children. Jen and I are going to be assessing and restructuring the daily programme and creating a guideline for new volunteers so they can maintain continuity when we leave. It will be a mammoth task but it is a challenge we both relish. At the moment there is little discipline or routine for any of the children. We will also be completing the database of electronic profiles regarding individual children.
The whole society is being given an overhaul, and they had a guy from World Vision evaluate and suggest proposals for the charity to really grow and become efficient in certain areas. It’s quite exciting and I really hope and pray it goes well. It is a great thing and it makes us feel that 2 months really is such a short time to be here to help. Anyway we will give it our best shot and the next volunteers can take up the baton.
Well that is enough from us for this week. I promised it would be a shorter post this week. I seem to have lied! Maybe next time!