by Sam Fowler, a member of the SkillCorps® India February 2019 team
When I woke up Thursday morning for day 2 of orientation, I had no idea how much of an adventure the next 48 hours would be. There was almost 16 hours on a plane, almost 10 in a car, and only about 7 hours of sleep.
There’s really no good way to describe India to give you the whole picture, but it all started on my second flight when the two guys next to me told me to “trust your driver,” and in the first two minutes of being in the car, I realized why. If you’ve ever played a game of frogger, imagine that x50. There’s not really lanes, they don’t use blinkers, and there’s not many street lights. To an outsider, it looks and feels like madness. There’s cars coming and going in every direction, and more times than I can count, you’re within an inch of another car, moped, or rickshaw. I can’t say there weren’t times I was nervous, but you just need to look out the window, take it all in, and trust your driver
Then there’s the animals. Cows and dogs line the streets like squirrels and deer back home. They walk along the highways, stop traffic, and definitely fit in more than I do as a tourist. It is hard sometimes seeing the puppies rummage through the garbage, or seeing a dog with three legs wobble down the street, but it’s a part of life here, and the locals don’t seem to mind sharing their space.
Driving through the ‘country’ side and cities are a world of their own. Ripped up roads with piles of cement and brick everywhere. Donkeys, horses, and cows pulling carts of dirt, street vendors and food carts everywhere. The houses range from tall apartment buildings, unfinished cement and brick structures, straw and plant huts, and sheets hanging over wires. There’s children no older than five walking up and down the roads alone, or 3 kids sitting on the back of a moped or motorcycle without helmets, and military men walking up and down the street with giant guns. The people are friendly, can definitely be too friendly but being a tall American blonde, that was a bit expected. I’ve had a couple and groups of kids stop and ask to take a picture of me, but they just smiled and moved on when I said no thank you. There’s also beautifully hand painted walls and trucks, large open fields with groups of people playing cricket, and bright beautiful colors that draw you in more.
Things are different here. It’s exciting, beautiful, nerve-racking, and inviting all at once. It is one of the most unbelievable adventures I’ve ever had the chance to be a part of and it’s only day 2. I’m ready to fully embrace this adventure and everything that comes along with it.