Monday, May 31, 2010

Traveling to Lucknow

May 15, 2010

We were instructed by AIESEC Delhi to take the night bus from Delhi to Lucknow, and so we did. I wasn't prepared however for what was to come. I just thought, okay, a bus ride won't be bad at all.. I didn't even think about it. It wasn't my first time to ride one anyway. I ride buses all the time.. back home. I thought wrong. Why didn't I ask around? Indians don’t like riding the bus. Even Udayan from AIESEC Delhi who accompanied us said he never takes the bus. That weekend, we were in for a uniquely Indian experience.

Friday, May 28, 2010

India | Places I've Been in Delhi

5 days to spend before our internship required us to travel out of Delhi; we wasted no time and toured the sites on my very first day.

Baha’i House of Worship (Lotus Temple), Bahapur
Beautiful, beautiful temple shaped like a lotus flower (India’s national flower). Adding awe to its physical beauty was the philosophy behind it. The Baha’i house of worship knows no caste, gender or race. The inside was very simple and solemn. There were no statues of gods or anything to symbolize a one god. It teaches that the essence of all the Messengers of God (of all religions) is one and the same. I think that if there’d be one religion that most represents equality and justice for all, as well as believing in the most pure and holy in every human being, it would be Baha’I (along with Sikhism). Below the temple, you find all the basic information about Baha’i. A more historical background is provided at the museum found just across the structure. 

Party in the Intern House

The timing of our arrival was perfect. Although it was sad to say goodbye to Ala whom we had just met, the next night was a perfect opportunity for us to meet more of the interns staying in India at her despedida (going away party). There were so many people from all over! From Latin America, North America, Europe, Africa, Asia... even India. Not a single AIESEC Delhi person there though. That night I learned so many things about their year-, month-, week-long experiences working in India and with AIESEC Delhi. Too bad I didn’t use my camera that night. It would’ve been weird for the newbie taking pictures of everyone.

Arrival in Delhi

New Delhi, India
May 10, 2010

I arrived at the New Delhi International Airport via Singapore around 10pm on May 10, 2010. I got my baggage and went straight out where I waited for Ashutosh from AIESEC Delhi, his sister, and friend, Dhruv who were to pick me up. Yi Ni was with them already when we met. She had arrived at the domestic airport from Malaysia via Kalkutta only a few minutes before I did. 

New lone traveler mistake: I forgot to change my dollars at the airport!

Vocabulary #1: Hindi (and a little bit of Dutch)

I've been here exactly 18 days now and have been trying to maximize immersing myself in the Indian culture. One way is through learning their most prominent language: Hindi. Here are the ones I can now say I know and use:

On Traveling to India: Packing

Things I now know I should’ve and shouldn’t have brought:

1. An empty bag. I should’ve known better. I ALMOST brought my big empty duffel bag, but then decided to leave it last minute. Aggh! India’s a place where shopping is very easy and cheap. You can buy almost anything here. A bag is not one of those things I plan or need to buy. Guess now I have no choice.

Greetings from India

My name is Roanna Medina, 23 yrs, and a Filipino student from Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) in the Philippines. I am also a development trainee of AIESEC AdMU working on a rural development project called Vikaas with Sarvajanik Shikshonnayan Sansthan (SSS), a local NGO in Uttar Pradesh, India.

Together with 6 AIESEC trainees from 5 different countries, my objective with Vikaas is to be immersed and to conduct research in the rural communities of Uttar Pradesh for 4 weeks, and to create an action plan on the 5th for the fulfillment of sustainable programs towards the MDG of 2015.

The AIESEC team for Project Vikaas
America, Mexico
Daan, Holland
Khar Khee, Malaysia
Pasha, Slovakia
Roanna, Philippines
Tamara, Ukraine
Yi Ni, Malaysia

Traveling in one of the most backward states in the country where electricity is scarce, an added challenge for me is to account my whole experience in this blog to serve as a personal diary, and a report to my professor, friends and family back home in Manila.

India is an incredible place. Its culture and history are very rich and vibrant. There’s so much to explore. During my stay for about 5/6 months, I also will try as much as I can to see how Indian culture and language change per 10 kilometers, as they say.

As a traveler in India, AIESEC trainee and development researcher, I’ll try my best to share with you my experiences of AIESEC and Indian culture... some travel tips I learn from mistakes, personal favorite local spots, insights, etc. I’ve been here for 2 weeks now and I’ve picked up quite a few interesting things. I do hope to write as much as I can because this experience, being here in India, already is and is going to be more of one heck of an adventure!