Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hot, Flat and Crowded

Well the Jourdans are back in India - well at least Samuel and I are. Lou and Hunter are due to join us in a couple of weeks.

On returning to India last Friday, I was quickly reminded of a book I recently read by Thomas Friedman, titled 'Hot, Flat and Crowded'. It was an approriate description for our retun trip to India! The sights, the sounds, the smells, the number of people - it all came flooding back as soon as we stepped outside Indira Ghandi International Airport. It was as though we had never left. The main difference to our last visit however was the heat....we have been experiencing 40 plus degree heat since arriving. We are drinking so much fluid...funnily enough we never have to visit the loo!

Being experienced Delhi residents, Sam and I quickly grabbed a cab and made our way to the Gibbons home in Gurgaon, where we would be staying for the weekend (the Gibbons are an Australian family who have been based in Delhi for the last 4 years and who have been great in supporting us in the move across). During our cab ride it became apparent that our driver really didn't know where he was going, so I ended up directing the way. We made it safely, and it was great to see Sam catch up with his mate Josh. We had a fantastic weekend with them and it was a great way to settle back into Delhi life.

On the Monday morning Sam and I headed off to the Ashram where we would be based for the first couple of months. On arrival it was great to be greeted by so many familiar faces - from some of the key leaders such as Kaye, Deepak and Prakash, to members of the staff such as Heli, Vinod and others ( I will share with you over the ensuing months the various team members because their stories are inspirational!). As I have shared before, it is very easy to forget the challenges that the patients at the Ashram face everyday when you are presented with a village that is very pretty and are welcomed by such positive people - a great credit to the team at the Ashram!

The Ashram had also had a couple of new additions to the community such as Scott and Sharlene and their three boys - yes three boys! - George (6), Oscar (4) and Luka (18months). They are an awesome NZ family who are based at the Ashram for 6 months. Sharlene is a nurse and has been a great addition to the clinic team headed up by Uwe. Scott, a carpenter, has been working with the maintenance team and teaching them new skills as well as adding some fantastic new things around the Ashram like a kids playground.

Samuel and I are sharing a room, which is not to disimiliar to the cube we were living in as a family, however we are now located closer to the bathroom, which will be great for the girls when they get here - we will post some photo's when Lou gets here....

The week has gone very smoothly, with Sam settling in and adjusting to the heat well...he has been swimming a couple of times with the other kids - forgot to mention that the Ashram has now got a pool! (a plastic blow up pool that I assure you is heaven here and that is so tempting to us adults, that even we have ventured in after the kids - now thats brave!)

I have also had my first driving lesson this week. Managed to drive succesfully into Delhi and back - got a little confused as I thought India drove on the other side of the road, however Sam quickly piped up 'Dad, they drive on the same side as you do in Australia!'...this caused a quick panick to my fellow passengers, one of whom was the head of the American Womens Association who is in her late 70's and who has a great relationship with the Ashram! Great start...

Anyway the first week has been great catching up with old friends and making new ones, adjusting to the heat, and learning to drive. Have also had several meetings with the team laying the ground work for the organisation moving forward which has been received well, so all in all life is good for us Delhiites!

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