Archive for February, 2007


Signs I love

February 27, 2007






Going quiet…

February 23, 2007

… for a few days to take a weekend roadtrip to Amritsar to see the Golden Temple and the changing of the guards at the Pakistani border. Four of us (me, a sweet girl from California, a Brit and an Irishman) have hired Jasvinder, one of our Sikh drivers, to introduce us to the Punjab, his home state. Nine hours up, a day and a half there, and nine back. Pfew.

Wanted to just say how much your kind, thoughtful, wise, supportive, loving and fun posts are meaning to me each time I return to this site to leave news. (Did you check out my brother’s Hindi? Dig.) It’s a happy lifeline, and it’s like you get it, and get me. That’s just really cool.

Be back online when I can… more stories of Mother Teresa’s to come, and the tale of my best (and most intense) night yet: a visit to Nizamuddin, the ancient Muslim neighborhood in Delhi, to visit the shrines, and attend the sacred qawwalis. In my top five things I have ever done. More soon — be well. Namaste, all. Love you guys.


Small things

February 21, 2007

So, turns out that most of what I’m writing here is about my off-time, as opposed to my work here in India. If you didn’t know better, it might sound and like I’m just on vacation, flitting around Delhi looking for interesting people and lovely photos. The truth is, I’m up before the sun every morning and working the longest days of my flatmates. The work is hard; it’s physically and emotionally demanding and draining. And it’s the sort of steady, hour-by-hour-by-every-hour kind of work that is tough and necessary, and that doesn’t always lend itself to fun tales or inspirational stories. (For sure, there is the heartbreaking stuff, but I’m not wholly comfortable sharing the private pain of others when it really doesn’t seem to serve any purpose beyond my own travel narrative.)

That said, the work is my primary activity, my main responsibility and the reason I’m here, so it stands to reason that if you’re reading this site, you might be interested in the work itself. What can be done in the here and now… this month, this day, this instant to improve the circumstances of the person holding my hand? What can be achieved that might live beyond my time here, gradually improving things, even if at tiny intervals? When it comes to this stuff, I’ll try to do better at sharing bits and pieces of small things when I feel I can.

There’s a profoundly disabled teen girl at Mother Teresa’s who spends her days either curled up on her cot, or folded over at the waist, secured in a wheel chair. She can’t weigh more than 90 lbs. and seems to barely function at the level of a listless infant. In the time I’ve been working at the Home, her posture and immobilization were such that I never saw her face. Read the rest of this entry ?


Bomb on Delhi train kills 68

February 20, 2007

This coming weekend, a handful of us were going to take the train to Amritsar, (north 5 hours, just before the Pakistan border) to visit the Golden Temple and attend the changing of the guard ceremony between the two countries. We’ve since hired a driver to take us on the trip, as those trains are tragically out of commission.

On Sunday, just two days before the Pakistan/India peace talks, a handful of suitcase pipe bombs filled with petrol exploded on a the Samjhauta Express. This train was not a random target… it connects the two counties and its name is meant to celebrate the “growing understanding” between the two sides. Clearly, all are not in favor of this progress. The stories are horrific, as you can imagine, and both nations are pledging to move forward with the talks. But as we’ve seen so explicitly in the States, the unity borne from shared horror is typically delicate and fleeting.

It’s hard to know when you’re abroad whether the big news where you are is making its way back home… so I’m sharing it here. Wish, pray, cross your fingers, plead, vote, demand peace.


Delhi sampler (updated)

February 19, 2007



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Mr. Ram Gopal

February 18, 2007

img_00711.jpgAuto rickshaws are a way of life here in Delhi, and though they are seen as a more modest means of transportation, I find them an unimaginable luxury. The zippy little green and yellow golf-cart-like taxis are simply everywhere, and navigate the (in)famous Delhi traffic with ease and elan. A 45-minute ride to nearly any spot in this gigantic city (I’ve heard jokes that it’s way larger than Rhode Island) can be had for 100 rupees and under. Most are in the 40-60 rupees range for two passengers, and one arrives at this rate through agressive but good natured haggling, knowing full-well you are being quoted the “tourist price.” (45 rupees = one U.S. dollar, by the by.)

I made the tough decision to stay in Delhi this weekend, while many volunteers embarked on long road-trips since their placements were closed Friday for a holiday. (Mother Teresa’s never closes.) I feel like I’m here for such a short time compared to others, that I wanted to really get to know Delhi, before leaving it for frenzied travel. Ten or so others stayed behind, and small groups of us have had a great time exploring.

Yesterday afternoon, two of us got into a rickshaw after initially walking away from a tough negotiation, only to be called back with a smile by Mr. Ram Gopal. What good fortune. Read the rest of this entry ?


The fine print

February 18, 2007

Just wanted to mention a couple of things on the “blog administration” side of things. First — thanks so much for taking the time to read and respond to things here. It’s always a shock to see the number of visits rising as they have, and such a treat to find a note from you here, when i make my way to a computer to check in. Reminds me of my very happy life back homeimg_01851.jpg without pulling me out my life in Delhi. Good stuff.

Second… the photo situation has been a challenge. I’m having trouble posting pictures with this modest set up, and have had to email photos to Damon one by one, at 5-10 minutes a piece for him to post. This means less photos than I’d like, and that they’re added after the fact, when he is awake to receive and has time to post them for me. It also means that I’m coming back even further after the fact to add captions/explanations for each at the bottom of the post. So… if you’re reading regularly, pop back to the post before to see if new images have been added or their captions tacked on at the end. Thanks.