Over the past 5 days we have been hidden away in Orchha.
Orchha, a little town located 40 minuets away from Jhansi. A town full of beautiful monuments and beautiful people.
On arrival in Jhansi, we left the train and noticed the amount of child beggars in the train station. One tugging on to Rich's trousers and making hand gestures for food. The only way I can describe this little girl, is troll like, she looked like a troll. Orange tinted, long, scraggy hair. That was so knotted u could see the ends of her hair. She wore a brown dress that looked like the same material as potato bag. It was a sight I've never seen before.
Thankfully, we soon saw a man whose hair had ginger highlights with grey roots growing through. He was standing by the railings with a paper in his hand. On the paper was our names written in big black writing. An instant smile of relief shot on my face when I saw our names. Rescued from the child beggars and hustlers of the train station Jhansi.
We jumped I to his tuck tuck and headed to Orchha. During the night ride to our home stay, a number of questions and thoughts were running through my mind. What's our family going to be like? What's it going to be like living with an Indian family? Is it going to be quieter that the raging streets of Jhansi? Holding tightly on to my bag as we drove through the busy streets, the knots in my stomach amounted together as we got closer.
We finally arrived at Orchha. The town was small and reasonably quiet, the streets were full of people, cows, dogs and monkeys once again. A few minutes later we arrived at our home for the next 5 nights, we were greeted by the mother and 3 daughters and almost immediately began to play badminton with the little 5 year old daughter called Kushi.
After lunch we wandered down the road , passing the locals along the way. It made a change for people to just say "Namaste" meaning like hello or good day compared to everywhere else that we had been who greeted us because they wanted business. There were little children running around in minimal clothing, both the boys and the girls were wearing eye make up.... Not sure what that was about.
At the end of the road we reached Agina's beauty parlour, the lady who worked here also worked for the friends of Orchha organisation. We popped inside and firstly was amazed by the small living space that her and her families had, a small room with a wicker bed, a clothes rail and a door leading to their very small garden.
We sat out in the garden and was treated to a small cup of chai tea, it was very different to the ones that we have back home, imagine a quarter of a cup of tea, made only with milk and then add one sugar.... Not quite like the Starbucks chai latte!
Hannah got her legs painted with henna, and we made our way back to our home stay for dinner. After dinner we watched some Bollywood movies and headed to bed.
The next few days where all blurred together we spent days chilling by the river, walking around the markets and enjoying our host family's company while indulging in their culture.
Things didn't run smoothly all the time tho, on out third day walking to the river rich spotted two men that we saw earlier creeping behind us in the distance. We stopped to interrogate their movements and to see if they were on our tails. Still unsure of what they were doing we decided to make our way over the lonely hill back to our home to see if they were following, after walking up to the highest point and seeing nobody in the distance we were relieved to think that they had gone a separate way and the chase was over. We carried on walking towards our home when rich turned around to check to see them a 100 metres behind us hiding behind the hill. We had been followed now for about 15 minutes and decided it was time to head back to our homestay, at this point we were in the middle of a big open field pretty vulnerable however because Rich had spotted the men so early on we were still at a safe distance from them, plus we only had about another 3 minutes walk until we arrived at the house. From the house we could see the men that were still following our trail however lost us, they then ran off and disappeared....
This experienced spoiled out day however we did make it home safe and leaned quickly from this experience. It was a shame to say that we no longer made it down to the river.....
HOWEVER!!! That's not completely true, the same evening a middle aged Australian couple popped over to our homestay an invited us rafting down the river. So the next afternoon we met them for lunch and then spent an hour rafting down the river! For a massive £2.50 each, the little trip was more than worth it's money, a scenic tour of Orchha as well as bit of white water rafting, finishing with a chip butty and a cup of chai!!
There were five of us rafting, us two, Helen (the mother) Anna (the daughter) and Darren (an annoying American we met a few days before) sadly Richard (the father) dropped out just before because he had a upset stomach, but an in all it was a lovely day.
We met a few people during our time in Orchha. Not forgetting our friend Nick.
Nick.. An old man, must be at least 70 from Glastonbury, travelling India and Nepal on his pension money. A strange character to say the least. We offended jokes that this would be rich in his 70's haha!
Sheila.. An Indian women, about 60 yrs old, who couldn't speak a word of English who ran after us on our first day walk to the river and demanded we have a chai tea with her. We had already heard about this lady from nick so we had a chai tea with her and nick on the river banks.
We had a great time with our host family over the past 5 days. Seeing how differently they live their lives to our family and homes. We taught the girls to play thumb war which they absolutely loved ha!
We saw how they re plastered their floor every 15 days with cow pat! Yukkk!
Even tho there was a language barrier it was amazing how we communicated and laughed for most of the time we were together. An amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone. It's an experience that makes you appreciate the small stuff, the stuff we take for granted. :-)