Never judge a book by its cover hey??

As the old adage goes… so I shouldn’t judge Kolkata on my first impression.

First impression, please everyone use your imagination since this may be hard for some of you to actually picture…

Day 1…
Hot (its summer time here, ok I can deal with that +40 day and a cool +37 at night… Leaving the airport in some derby style car race (my heart is literally in my throat, and I am trying to just take in the scenery and not watch the driver, well that makes me slightly nauseous. Seriously… the HONKING, the swerving in and out and around… driving on the wrong side, oh and HONKING HONKING HONKING…. the constant HONKING (Ill post a video just to give you a better perspective). We stop only momentarily as I witness a person tie a band around their arm and literally shoot drugs into her arm… they bobs a little and lays down… oh and we are off to the races again…. the windy pot ridden (or no formal road at all in some places)… Rows and rows of family, children, BABIES (naked) all strewn around the sidewalks sleeping… whole families just camped out on the street, and this is there home.

This place makes me sad. Sad that this is the way humanity in this country are treated. Sad that people have to live like this. And have no choice but to do so or die. The governments don’t care, but how do you help a system that has more or less lived like this for centuries? I wouldn’t even know where to start.

Met my roommate Sue, from Korea. She is a nice young women who is volunteering with Mothers house. She has been a great tour guide, and friend. Since her and her friend Josephine have been here a while we ventured out at night for some supper, and check out the night market.

Got another roommate the other day an Ozzie gal named Brenda, we have been out adventuring for coffee shops and such… even enjoyed some Pizza and a Pizza Hut…. (thanks Michelle for the tip it WAS AMAZING!! oh and the AC was an added bonus)

Day 3
Volunteered today at Mothers House, I was working with handicapped children in the morning and then with the toddlers in the afternoon. At first it was very overwhelming as you were not really given direction, you were handed a cup of water and a spoon and said here “aunty you feed” and were directed to spoon feed warm water to a child. After a while play time started and as the kids got used to us “aunties” being there they started to hold your hand, smile and laugh in there own way.

Its cute how all the kids, even the street kids call you Aunty and want to hold your hand and touch you. Its amazing what the Sisters do with such limited resources and help. In the one room there was over 20 handicapped children and in the toddlers there was 38. Many of the children were abandoned or surrendered to Mothers House due to the sever disabilities. I wish there was more one person could do, but as one of the volunteer coordinators stated it is important to take care of yourself too as Kolkata in general is a very taxing on all your senses, and emotions and then you mix in very emotional and sometimes stressful volunteering it can cause a lot of burn out. I only did one day due to travel times/deadlines, but I would like to come back and work a few weeks with either adults and kids and get a real sense of what the Sisters do and really make a connection with some of the clients.

Final Day in Kolkata…

Packed and ready to go… my roommate and I went to explore the streets and alleys of Kolkata… we went to the rather poshy area called Park Street where we came across a variety of restaurants and bars, there seemed to be less people living on this street as well and very little if not no stray animals. We ducked in to a few alleys and explored some shops and stalls…

Overall Id say my impression of Kolkata has changed slightly however it is a city that takes a lot of getting used to and about a bottle of aspirin,… after a few days my headache has finally gone away…

I have to catch a 2000 train to Varanasi… Im a little excited and nervous to do this train thing by myself… but hey… people do it all the time and are okay… so wish me luck and Ill get back to you all when I am in Varanasi.

Peace and Love

(Pictures below are from a mall we found, Mothers Tomb & Mother House, A graveyard from the 1700’s)

Attached are a few photos since I did not take that many.
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