India, the lead up: 11,24,13
About 8 months ago I told Jim I wanted to go to India this December. I chose India for a couple of reasons. The first was that I wanted to go and experience a totally different culture. I like embracing the differences in life. They make me feel invigorated, in a way the comforts of home just don’t. One of the things I have found fascinating in my travels, is how people in different cultures look at the same issue and come up with different viable solutions. It is an insight inside the fascinating complexities of human thought. The reason for choosing the month of December is that this is the most culturally homogeneous month of the year in the United States, and I want us out of our comfort zone. Although I do know how to ask for a feather pillow in Hindi. (Helen, I know this is a sentence fragment – just deal with it!)
The second reason for India is that I had found an organization that would let us volunteer with Sean. Most “Save the World” (as I call them) groups, such as Habitat for Humanity, will not take families until the children are 16. We also looked at doing work in Africa, but with Jim’s rheumatoid arthritis and the malaria risk there, we decided against it at least for now. With the organization we chose, Cross Cultural Solutions, we volunteer in the morning and do a cultural activity arranged by them in the afternoon. Plus I have been assured there are ELEPHANTS!! walking down the street!!!! Cows too, but I lived in Smith Valley and Bridgeport too long for that be exciting.
There is a lot of information on their website, but here is just a bit copied from Cross Cultural Solution’s website.
As a leader in the field of international volunteer travel for over 18 years, we know that the best approach to international volunteering—the only approach—is one designed by the community. In every community in which we work, we have long-standing relationships with local organizations who communicate real-time needs and objectives to the CCS team so that our volunteers can work alongside local people and make a sustainable impact.
1. Our volunteer programs are asked for, and designed by the communities in which we work. CCS knows better than to force our idea of a solution on people who may not want it.
2. We don’t risk your health or safety by placing you with a host family. Instead, you’ll stay in our Home-Base, where there’s 24-hour security, safe and delicious local food, local transport in CCS vehicles, and other volunteers who are sure to become your lifelong friends.
3. We also know that you want to soak in the local culture. So we arrange cultural activities to make sure that you’ll forever feel like a real part of the place where you volunteer.
I so cannot wait for this! Growing up, both my parents told me I was an idealistic dreamer who wanted to save the world. I used to tell them they were wrong, but maybe they were right after all. Again!
I went online to get a photo of an elephant in Delhi, just to start to get this all figured out. It seems there is a movement to get the elephants off the streets of Delhi, because they are being exploited. RATS! I already gave up SeaWorld, AKA Whale Jail, this year, now the elephants!
I will post a couple more times before we leave. As they say in Hungary, “Egashegadrei!”