Unbelievable until you've seen it !

Trip Start Sep 28, 2008
Trip End Oct 12, 2008

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Flag of India  ,
Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Good flight... really good food on Air India....cramped but that's to be expected... India.... how to describe it? An assault on your senses. The noise is deafening... people honk constantly. There is NO space...little space to walk because of the masses of people, children, dogs, crows... people have "homes" right on the roads and sidewalks and you'll see people squatting over a fire cooking dinner as the children play nearby. There are concrete 'pits' where people urinate and outdoor bathing areas where maybe 10 men will be washing up. Some cows, crows but mostly people... beggars with their outstretched hands... my most difficult moment was the very first person who came up to me: a woman with a baby asking for food. We met some young girls who went and made formula to hand out -- it was refused. Do I understand this? No. Second worse thing was a man, lying on his stomach and missing his arm from the shoulder joint down, obviously paralyzed, the stump of his arm flopping around.... probably at least 40 but looked more like 60..... It is impossible to take it all in too much b/c the pain of the suffering I'm seeing would be unbearable.

The children are adorable and love to say 'hi' to us, grab our hands and walk with us.... but then we saw a baby, maybe 2 months old, lying on its back right on the sidewalk, no one really paying attention to it. Families have made entire areas their "home:" which consists of a tarp if they're lucky to shade them from the sun, a fire pit maybe a foot in diameter and at any time during the day you'll see them fixing food..... the surroundings might consist of a tire, several pieces of cardboard... some live in boxes themselves. There will be row upon row of human beings stretched out at any time day or evening, sleeping, in any space available. All in the midst of the heat, the flies, the noise.

The traffic is a story in itself: chaos, absolute chaos. We hung out with 2 young girls we met yesterday and about got plowed into by a bus....there's motorcycles, autorickshaws, cycle rickshaws, cars, cows, people, buses, all vying for space.

We rode on a rickshaw yesterday pulled by a man just so we could say we did it. The only way I could do it was knowing we were providing him some income.

Highlight of the day was hanging out with the 2 gals, who are teaching english in thailand and going to Mother Teresa's house... so cool. It was just surreal to me that with all the books I've read about her, that here I am, in the same area where this woman did so much. I can not imagine dealing with this level of poverty every single day of life...

So much to take in.... I will keep you posted... Namaste....
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