*Title may be slightly exaggerated.
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. Therefore, BMS tell us that it is a matter of urgency that we get our carbon monoxide alarms up as soon as we can. So, team Delhi did exactly this. Much to our distress the alarm started going off immediately. Amy’s solution to this was to remove the batteries, so it’s safe to say that we have the best practicalities co-ordinator action teams has ever seen. However, after reading the instructions we realised that this was supposed to happen and that we were in fact not going to die from carbon monoxide poisoning.
After evading death, we now had a new country to get used to calling home and a very cosy flat to make our own. The first thing we had to get used to was the smell. India has an unusual aroma, that now after a few weeks we hardly notice, but at first you could have called it overpowering. And the heat! Not to sound like a bunch of typical Brits complaining about the weather, but it was far too hot and humid. Which also didn’t help with the smell. As we are living in Dwarka, which is on the outskirts of Delhi, we often find ourselves getting stared at. Not in an unfriendly or an aggressive way, but merely a curious gaze, as Dwarka is not exactly the tourist central of Delhi. Another thing which is far flung from home is health and safety. The Delhi roads are manic and crossing them safely is a skill which is not easily acquired. However, we have made it this far, and dodging the cows and tuk-tuks is becoming easier.
We do not want to disillusion you. Whist team life has some amazing highs, it also has some lows. Our first three weeks in a foreign country, surrounded by people who don’t speak our language – not that Cody speaks the same language as the rest of us anyway – and not having the home comforts we are used to has taken its toll on us. The first few days were hard for some of us as we missed home and trying to make sure we all got the chance to recharge our batteries in our own ways was difficult. A few of us struggled to see our purpose here in Delhi as it seemed that we couldn’t add anything to the project. However, as these last two weeks have gone by, whilst there still have been overwhelming points and low moments, we have learnt to trust that God has brought us here for a reason, we just might not be able to see it yet. Others were not expecting to find it hard, and when they did they didn’t know how to react to that. However, we all know that God is our comforter, and this has been a massive help to us all as we have settled into life in Delhi. As we have become more involved with the project we have found it easier to rejoice in the small things and just have a good time. A verse that Hannah found especially helpful was Matthew 7:7 where it talks about God opening the door when we knock. She found it reassuring to remember that God is a home away from the home that she knows, and that He is a place to go for safety, comfort and solitude whenever she needs to. Our flat is also starting to feel more like a home, particularly with all the photos we have put up along with the massive Scottish flag that greets us every morning!
The project we are involved with is called Anusaran, which is a school that provides informal education for children. Each of us has our own class, who we teach for one hour in the afternoon. Cody has class 1a who are the youngest, Amy has 1b, Hannah has 2, and Orla has 3 who are the oldest. The past weeks have been so inspiring, as we have got to know our classes and see their eagerness to learn. Although trying to learn the names of kids who never seem to sit still is a challenge. Everyone in the team has also been given Hindi names, as some of the kids may have found it difficult to pronounce our names. Hannah is now Hina, Orla is Usha, Amy is Amita and Cody is Kavita. We often find it difficult when it comes to teaching kids whose first language is not English, and in many ways, we have learnt more from them than they have from us. In the mornings before class, we do devotions with women, and then it’s time for Hindi class. The one takeaway from Hindi class so far is that Hindi is hard. Also, Orla writes upside down, in what our supervisors joked was “Japanese not Hindi”. However, we are now beginning to find our feet in Hindi and we are finding more opportunities to use it daily. Spending time at Anusaran is a privilege and we love spreading the love of God in all the little ways.
We have a day off on Saturday, and we have been spending some time exploring around Dwarka and Delhi. Insert below basic tourist picture in front of India gate:
We have learned the art of haggling tuk-tuk drivers, which is easier said than done. Once on a tuk-tuk it is by no means a smooth ride. You do however, learn to love it. The drivers are often some of the funniest and friendliest people you could meet. So funny in fact that upon your destination you don’t mind the fact that you have mild whiplash. There have also been some not so good moments whilst we have been exploring. We get to see a side of India that is far removed from home. It is truly heart breaking seeing small children begging at the side of the road in not much more than rags. It is even more heart breaking knowing that there is nothing we can do in that moment to help these children, who more than most people need to know how much Jesus loves them. There are projects all over Delhi who aim to help these kids, one of them is Anusaran. Seeing the extreme poverty in India has really put into perspective how blessed we are in the UK. Even though we do not think it, we are so incredibly blessed to receive an education. To go into a classroom with tables and chairs, to have an interactive whiteboard, to have our jotters provided for us, and to able to achieve whatever it is that we put our minds to.
Over our first three weeks we have also celebrated our first birthday overseas. Orla turned 19 on the 23rd of October! We spent the day in school, and then our supervisors invited us round to theirs for dinner and a games night. People’s true colours came out in an intense game of dobble. It was a simple birthday surrounded by the team and new friends, but Orla wouldn’t have changed it for the world.
Now for a little bit of fun. Over the past weeks we have all come out with some weird and wonderful things, and this a little section dedicated to that.
Amy: “This lemonade tastes like the street smells”
Cody: “I just want to clap the dug”
Hannah: “The weird thing is, is that you can actually physically have babies”
Orla (to Amy): “You actually have really cute toenails. Like if they were fingernails they’d be really lovely”
Thank you for taking the time to read our first blog post from Delhi! Now that we have settled into a routine, our blog posts will now be a lot more regular. We hope to post our blogs every second Sunday at 10PM Delhi time. That is 4:30PM UK time. That means that our next blog post will be on the 11th of November. This blog will cover Cody’s 18th birthday, a three-day youth conference in the foothills of the Himalayas and so much more. Tune in then!