Published: October 10th 2009October 10th 2009
So missed a couple weeks of Europe, but thought I would skip ahead to the more interesting part and as I have time go back and write about my favorite places during the second half of Europe.
Arrived two days ago in India, spent a few hours in Delhi, and then flew to Calcutta. Waldo and I are CSing and staying with a really nice guy who I think will let us stay with him all 8 days.
It's a weird mix of poverty and riches (geographically) that we don't have in the US. Usually, there are the poor neighborhoods and the wealthier ones, but everything is pretty mixed here. We are staying in a normal (US standards) 2 bdrm apt with living room and dining area, US-type toilets, running water, electricity, etc. The first night we arrived, other CSers came over and we had drinks and played poker for a few hours (I came out about $1 ahead!! - paid for our lunch the next day). Last night, we went to a huge nice mall to see a movie and had dinner at the food court.
Yet, during the day while walking around, you see so much poverty. Today was our first day volunteering with the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa's organization) and it was pretty intense. About 12 sisters and 4 of us volunteers arrived in this big truck full of medicine and 15 (50kg each) bags of wheat/grain stuff. There had to have been about 700 women (some with small children) waiting. The volunteers stayed in the back of the truck with 2 sisters and we dumped the grain into bags and poured cooking oil into bottles. We tried to get the women into lines but after a couple minutes they would start shoving and pushing to get to the front. Several times it got so crazy we had to stop, cover the bags acting as if we won't give out more food and sit in the back of the truck while they calmed down. One time, several ladies were slapping each other, pulling hair, shoving... all to get a smaaaaall amount of food. I thought there was no way we would run out but, alas, we did and so some at the end only got oil or a tin bucket or some crackers. Got me thinking how we just go to the supermarket and pick out whatever we want... a totally different life from having to struggle every day for food. And then when we left, the sisters gave us chocolate cookies, candy and clean water... just doesn't seem fair.
Pictures coming soon...