My time in India was an unbelievable experience, we were meet at Delhi airport by two of the most incredible people who were there to guide us through India. Nothing can compare to first time you drive through Delhi traffic, what an experience. We arrive at our apartment at 1am had a very quick dinner than straight off to bed for a well-earned sleep. A few hours later we were up to go visit the offices of the Drishtee organisation where we were given a tour and got to meet one of the founders of the organisation. Following this we went shopping to buy all of kurtas to wear in the village. What a load of fun we all had dressing up with fantastic colour of Indian clothing. It was then off to the Delhi train station for our overnight sleeper train to Patna, Bihar. I was very apprehensive about this train ride, but it ended up been a fantastic experience. We were met by friendly people on the train and staff that wanted to make sure we had a great experience on the train.After a 6-hour drive from Patna we final arrived in Saurath the village that we would be spending 2 and half weeks living in. we drive in and there’s a lot of interest in us from the village people. We meet our cooks and some of the translator we will be using, and rest for lunch before going for a walk around the village. The place is so beautiful and much larger than we expected.
We spend the next 4 days exploring different aspects of life in rural India, by visiting schools, hospitals, farms, and religious leaders. It was so interesting to be able to go a talk to people about how the systems work and all the different problems they were facing. I took particular interest in the health systems. From this I went on to spend the rest of my time talking to health works and family’s about HIV education. What I found was that the systems put in place by the government where great ideas, however stigma on the topic and a lack of education of the people in charge of doing the educating and the village people led to a miscommunication.
Once I believed that I fully understood the root of the problem, I set to work with my partner on trying to find a solution to the problem, this is no easy feat. What we came up with was a picture based informational sanitary pad liner that you peel off. When we presented this to the village the people really got behind the idea and found it a great way to learn and very informative.
My whole experience in India was amazing, making friends with the children that lived next door, doing morning yoga every day, becoming friends with some amazing people from UTS, meeting people from all different castes and most of all building deep emotional connections with some of people we spend so much time with. The only thing I would change about my experience this having it end.
by Catherine Walsh
*Applications are still open for the Drishtee immersion Program for Winter 2017 until Sunday 28th May – APPLY HERE