Katie Baker is a member of SkillCorps India, currently in the field.
Before my journey with Skillcorps, my most exciting traveling experience was spending a week at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. As you can imagine, as wonderful as the endless tacos and margaritas were, I didn’t really get much of a cultural experience out of it.
From the moment we landed in Delhi, it was clear that this was going to be a lot different than anything else I have ever experienced. It was the first time that I really felt like I was the minority. At first, it really threw me off. We have definitely gotten our share of stares and I have never really been anywhere where it is THAT obvious that I don’t fit in. But as uncomfortable as that was, I also haven’t ever been anywhere that I have felt such a warm welcome!
The first day we walked into SOREM, we were greeted with open arms—and immediately thrown on the dance floor to learn a traditional Indian dance for the school’s 25th anniversary celebration this Friday. The staff at SOREM were so welcoming and encouraging, despite our slow learning curve.
We were also invited to a Mendhi ceremony. This is basically a big party a couple of days before a wedding in India. Literally the second we walked in we were pulled into another dance! If you know me at all, you know that I am don’t have very many moves, but it didn’t matter! It was so much fun to be completely immersed in such a beautiful tradition.
This past weekend, we went to the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The Golden Temple is where people of the Sihk religion go to pray and worship. While it was pretty obvious that we are not of the Sihk, we learned that the temple was built with four entrances to invite people from all religions in. Talk about welcoming! It was such a humbling experience to be surrounded by such beauty and warmth.
This has been such an amazing experience that has both pushed me out of my comfort zone, and opened my eyes to a beautiful culture. I feel so lucky to have had this experience!