So the first week in Delhi has been and gone.
We arrived on time on the very early morning of Tuesday landing around 1:30AM local time. For information all of India in on one time zone which is currently 5:30 hours ahead of the UK. By the time we all got through the usual airport niceties of baggage and immigration and collected landside, loaded bags galore onto two cars/people carriers and drove into the city it was gone 4AM.
After a quick introduction to the Social Institute which is to be our base for the next 4 weeks, rooms were allocated and we all headed off bleery eyed for sleep around 5:30.
We are a group of volunteers from the UK, Philippines, Kenya, US, Canada and Australia, with ages from 23 upwards. We are still waiting on 3 additional volunteers who are still getting their visas sorted out or have delayed departure dates. There are 6 of us going to Orissa, the others will eventually be in Chennai in Tamil Nadu, Saurat in Gujarat, various places in Jharkand, and in New Delhi itself.
The pace of this first week has been surprisingly relaxed with 2 hour lunch breaks. The content has been as expected - health breifings, security breifings etc. Next week I start discussion with my programme officer regardingthe specifics of my placement, arranging accomodation etc - should be fun!
Language learning in the mornings started on Thursday but only Hindi, so I have acquired an Oriya book and have made a slowish start but at least I have now heard the language spoken. It sounds strange to my ear and even weirder when you look at it written phonetically! The Hindi is progressing well and I can hear words I recognise when evesdroppinng others conversation. Morpakhare gote bahi achi - I have a book!
We had a dinner out last night with all the VSO Programmme Office staff who work here in Delhi and a few of the Delhi based volunteers and visiting Kenyan and London office staff. Other than that we have all been finding dinner out nearby in the various "greasy spoons" down our nearest market street. In my opinion these have been better than the restaurant for the group dinner. To give you an example, tonight two ofo us shared a meal of Tawa Chicken, spinach paneer (cheese) and chinese vegetable noodles all for 155 Rupees. With a current exchange rate of about 77 rupees to the pound sterling that's all of £2!