We arrived in New Delhi Thursday at 1.30 a.m. and immediately went to our hotel in order to prepare for orientation later in the morning.At the start of orientation, our in-country leaders, Archna and Goutam, welcomed us by adorning us with marigold necklaces (which was a symbolic act of welcoming others to a different culture and….bendi( which opens our eyes to new experiences, and willingness to learn).After our amazing in-country leaders finished up with their tour, I learned many things, and I started to realize how amazing India is. It’s very different from the U.S.A in comparison, but that’s what made my journey so far spectacular. India is very founded of something that is called “Tea Break”, Indians loves their tea. One of their most traditional type of tea is “ Chi”- it’s kinda like hot coco, but with ginger added to it . It taste wonderful, it’s popular that mostly every house serves it during tea break. After our group was done with our routine tea break. We went back into the program center; where we had a lecture about the Indian Health safety for us . What was good for us to eat and what was not. After that we had another lecture on the gender role and culture of Indians. Around 3:00p.m. We went to an open marketing. It was amazing. The thing about an opening market is that you can bargain with the merchant for a better price on the merchandise you want to purchase. It was a wonderful experience, and a perfect way to start off our journey.
Today we had two lectures, both of which I was very excited about. First, Cindy Peace talked to us about coming from another country into India. She grew up in the U.S. but has spent over 10 years in India. We learned about adapting to culture shock, and how to check our assumptions by recognizing that our perception is based off of past experiences that may not translate the same way here. Our second lecture was by Dr. Anjali Capital, who spent three years documenting traditional songs sang by women in villages. The songs are very important to the women, as they function as an outlet for their feelings about their environment, relationships, and things going on in their communities. Dr. Anjali’s work intrigued me and inspired me to look into music as a tool in, and its effects on, all kinds of communities. Later in the day, we went to a famous Bahá’í temple, known as the Lotus Temple because of its lotus flower-shaped design. We took off our shoes before entering the beautiful building, and everyone sat in silence. While there, you are supposed to be still and communicate with God. For me, it was a very exciting and wonderful experience, and I am glad for the time we spent there.
We started off the day by getting our things ready to depart later in the evening to Bahraich. In the program center we had our first lecture revolving around the Public Health System in India. I got the chance to learn a lot about the different health centers ( Subcenter, Primary Center, Community Center). I also got to learn about the big hospitals in the cities and how they work. After our amazing tea break (which I love), we had another presentation on the Caste System. We learned a lot on the different society levels that exist (Jati and Varna). I got to learn that Caste is determined by birth. What surprised me the most was the fact that men from the upper class could marry someone from the lower class, but a woman who is from the upper class cannot marry someone from the lower class. The Indian society to me seemed very interesting, yet unfair. We got the chance to go to the mall, but we first made a quick stop at a food court were I ate American food for the first time in the week! We got a lot of shopping done, but were late for our overnight train ride to Bahraich. The Experimenters and I were excited to leave the city and go on an amazing overnight train ride. Until next time! India Experiment signing off!