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India pre-departure

INDIA | Thursday, 29 August 2013 | Views [666] | Comments [2]

With my arrival in Kolkata drawing closer I thought a pre-travel entry would be a good opportunity to test out the new URL at worldnomads.com and kick off my blog.

This trip will satisfy two desires I’ve held for a long time; firstly to explore a country which has lived long in my imagination and secondly to do some volunteer work in the developing world. 

Volunteering overseas is something I always thought I would do but haven’t ‘gotten around to’ and I have come to the realisation it’s something I have to do at least once in my life.   When you travel you do more keenly feel the deep inequalities that exist in many parts of the world.  Travelling around Eastern Europe, Russia and the Middle East for a large part of 2011, one feeling I was left with was that I could have done more for the local people I met, I could have gotten more involved in their day to day lives and I could have made more lasting connections with local people.  Despite the on-going debate about the rights and wrongs of western volunteerism and charity in the developing world I think it’s time for me to step up, experience it for myself and try to do some good.

Two months in Delhi helping out at Salaam Balaak Trust http://www.salaambaalaktrust.com/ should give me a good chance to connect with people and provide my time to those who could use it.  To give some background around this - literally millions of children live on the streets of urban India.  The trust aims to combat this severe problem in Delhi by providing education, activities, vocational training and in some cases shelter to children and young people who are essentially fending for themselves in the city.

A natural question to ask is how do all of these children end up on the street.  Each child has their own story; some are orphans, some are runaways from abuse or forced labour, still others arrive from impoverished rural backgrounds in the hope of a better life.  Many eke out a living by picking through rubbish for recycling or working in small businesses like chai stalls.  Regardless of how they get there they are prime targets for unscrupulous people who would take advantage and many end up in some form of illegal activity.  

Salaam Balaak Trust (SBT) tries to give children like these options and opportunities, while at the same time providing a chance to experience childhood while they can.  If you’re interested some stories from children at SBT can be accessed at http://www.friendsofsbt.org/stories

Although I’m not overly qualified and my time is limited, at the very least I can provide another pair of hands to support this organisation and show solidarity with people doing such good work.   I’m not sure how much of an impact I can make personally but I will be a cog in the wheel and I’m looking forward to being a cog in the wheel of something as powerful as this.

Aside from the volunteer work I am very much looking forward to exploring this unique ancient country.  I thought I would compile a list of things I hope to do while in India and although it is by no means exhaustive I think it goes some way to explaining my motivations. 

So, here we go, in no particular order:

  1. Eat delicious, authentic curry
  2. Play street cricket, beach cricket and everywhere cricket
  3. Visit Temples, Mosques, Palaces and Gurdwala
  4. Blend in by growing a moustache
  5. Visit rural people to see how they live
  6. Speak some Hindi
  7. Test the subcontinent pitches playing club cricket in Delhi
  8. Visit an Ashram
  9. See a Tiger in the wild
  10. Learn more about yoga and meditation
  11. Research my Rossiter family history (with two ancestors born in the Punjab)
  12. Hopefully improve my Karma!

Wish me luck!




Tags: bucket list, india, motivation, volunteer



Good luck Timbo,

Get to Varanasi if you can. Hellishly interesting. Also if you get sick some of the kiwi meds won't work. Giardia in particular needs to be local stuff...speaking from experience!

Keep us updated xx

  Michael Reid Aug 29, 2013 5:53 PM


Have hopefully caught up with you through the Blog address you gave me.
Have read your comments and proposals for the trip. As usual reads well
and is interesting. Have seen and spoken to Rona several times including
re an arrangement with a McLeod mate to be the Wellington region representative
(chief). I am to be his assistant without title.

  Malcolm P Oct 15, 2013 7:59 AM

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