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India – Spring 2007

Journal 1 – January 21

Hello from India!!!

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We arrived safely on Saturday night after a long day of travel. Thankfully no flights were significantly delayed and all of our luggage showed up, so it was a smooth trip. Sunday morning we were awakened at 4:50 by a man singing his prayers over a loud speaker and many of us were unable to get back to sleep because of the other city noises that soon followed. Once we had breakfast, we took a bus to see a 300 year old observatory as well as the tomb of a Hindu King. We also spent time in a marketplace which gave us a better understanding of Indian culture. Monday we visited a mosque, the largest in India, spent time walking among the shops in Old Delhi, and visited the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi. We have been extremely busy and there's a lot to take in.

There are so many unique things to this culture. The first thing we noticed was the traffic. There seem to be few traffic laws; the signs and lanes seem to be only suggestions. It is chaos and completely unlike the U.S. Once we were able to relax, the second thing that was evident was the amount of people. Everywhere we look there are staggering amounts of people. Being in distinct minority has helped us appreciate that there are billions of people unlike us in America, and it is a humbling thought. Third is the poverty. Anywhere there is open space people make it into a home. At night, the sidewalk is home to a lot of fires with many people around each one. Whenever we go out, we are approached by beggars, most often they are children, which is enough to break your heart. Coexisting with these extremes of poverty has been difficult for many of us. Lastly, however, we are noticing more and more how truly fascinating many facets of Indian life; from the food to the clothing to the religion to the people, everything in India is full of life and we look forward to appreciating it more fully in the upcoming months.

- Mitchell Yoder