I made the choice before going on this trip to keep my mind as wide open as possible and now in just the couple days that I've been here it seems as though it is full to the brim. After over 20 hours of traveling, the car ride from the airport was like a crazy dream full of bumps and honks and weird green and yellow mini cars with only 3 wheels that I quickly learned are called autos (used as one of the most common forms of transportation in New Delhi). At first I was shocked by the smog that stops the sun from fully reaching our faces and the cows that freely roam the streets, sometimes stopping traffic if they find something tasty to eat in the middle of the road. But now that I have been here for a little while I am just another person weaving through bodies as I walk to the metro without using the sidewalks (nobody does), bargaining for a pomegranate or a pineapple as I go. The fruit is increeeeedible along with almost everything else I have hungrily consumed so far. Aside from the fruit, the amazing daily lunches we are fed while working at the project centers, and the delicious dinners that we get at the flat, I and the other volunteers have found true love in momos (little fried or steamed dumplings that can be filled with veggies or chicken) which we can get for 20-40 rupees (less than a dollar) at the stand that is fortunately set up right outside our building. While the food is fantastic and consistently brings me joy, what really fills me with happiness is the generosity and kindness that is constantly demonstrated at the center. Me and two other Bard students are volunteering at Khader (women's center), teaching English, science, and dance to the children that come everyday from the village where the center is located. Initially, we were greeted warmly by the Head of the center and though the teachers were nervous around us at first, now we spend lunchtime talking (we help with their English as they teach us words in Hindi), listening to each other's music, and joking around.
Today I taught some of the teachers to moonwalk and they taught us some of the words to one of their favorite songs, all of us laughing as they stumbled through the dance and we butchered the words. In the picture, Curtis and Amal engage in a fairly matched arm wrestling match as me, Violet, and our fellow teachers watch. Looking forward, I am very excited to see how this bond will grow and what we can learn from each other in the process!