Oct 25th: What a difference a picture makes …
What a difference a picture makes. School children that arrive at the work site are almost fearful of us, initially we try to approach them they leave. Take a picture of them, turn the camera around to show them the picture and the ice (if there is such a thing in India) is broken and we’re not scary after all. The women, who are veiled, show them a picture of themselves and the veil isn’t quite so important and for the most part, isn’t used.
A land of opposites- the newer Mercedes on the street, side by side, with a four bicycle tired platform carrying up to 100 pounds and pulled by scantily dressed man. Just outside the air conditioned, high end fabric shop is a home built of a tarp and scrap lumber and buckets. We sit in a quiet courtyard and listen to the doves-watch the wrens and parakeets while just outside the gates the cows are sifting through the days accumulation of piled garbage for food. But it’s all wonderful, exciting and humbling. We who have so much don’t appear to be any happier than those who have so little.
We are a curiosity to the people of Bhinder, very few tourists here. A crowd of 30 noisy children can accumulate when we wander through the town, standing off until pictures are taken and then their limited English is practiced with us.
We were told that when making purchases we should barter. When a pair of sandals is $6.50, or a shirt is $5.00, how much cheaper do we expect to buy it for? The number of small stalls lining the street, a number selling the same articles, a single sale to a tourist, at a higher price than the residents would pay, must make their day, or week, a success.
The food can be spicy or really, really, spicy, varied and interesting- and what an adventure we are on. It should be mandatory for children, and some adults to experience this country and what little is needed in life. It would be really interesting to follow up on all who have taken part in a DWC project and see if the experience has changed the way they view and live their lives. I know it will certainly change mine.
Bill White, DWC Participant, India, October 2013 (DWC = Developing World Connections)