I know that everyone is probably wondering why on earth it has taken so long for me to start this blog. The truth is 3-fold. Number 1, most people know the little Visa-related fiasco before I came here, the problem being India wouldn't GIVE me a visa. So I, quite frankly, didn't think i'd ever get here and i'm still in disbelief that i am. Number 2, the computers where i'm living and where i work are extremely temperamental and turn on whenever they feel like and not when you need them. And number 3, I'm having too much of awesome time, i pretty much forgot. But anyway, I'm doing it now and that's all that matters...:P
I LOVE INDIA. This is without a doubt the most mental country I have ever been to. The city that I'm living in, Hyderabad, is the capital of Andhra Pradesh. It's a enormous city with the craziest traffic i've ever seen! I've been in this country just over 3 weeks and i'm already pretty set on getting a moped- as i've realised its the ONLY way to travel. My first night in India, I had to stay in a small guest house in Jubilee Hills by myself, as i waited for my 'Indian Dad' to come and meet me. His name is Bharavi, a a Ghandi-like ammateur philosopher and self-confessed Shakira fan. After being taken to his house for a meal that evening with his wife (or 'women-friend' as he calls her...) and his son Abhilash (my Indian big brother) and still not really knowing what was going on , I was taken back to the guest house on the back of Abhilash's moped. The sights you see on Indian roads are pure magic/comic genius: on one moped you will see an entire families of 5, or maybe 3 women in full Burkas clinging on for dear life, ladies in sarees riding side-sadle on the back on motorbikes. Autos (Auto Rickshaws) are just as amazing to watch and ride. As, people are crammed in, men,women, babies, goats, chickens, shopping. Pretty awesome.
I have met up with my gorge partner Jess and we've definitely settled into our new home We are working at a place called L V Prasad Eye Institute in the centre of Hyderabad. It's a specialist eye hospital which is really pioneering in India (i'll explain more later). Jess and I are living at a place called Kismatpur Campus, about a 45 minute ride away from the hospital. Kismatpur is where all the students studying at the hospital live, everyone training to be Optometrists, nurses, Vision technicians, Support Staff etc etc. Our room is on the staff floor, feels like home and pretty cosy now we've decorated with photos and all our rubbish has cluttered it up nicely.
My role at the hospital is to be the english teacher primarily for the ONAs (Opthalmic Nursing Assistants) They mostly come from rural parts of Andhra Pradesh, and what LVPEI are trying to do is educate these girls so that they can take the skills back with them to their rural communities and hopefully the knowledge should filter through. They are the SWEETEST things and I love them all. There are, as they say here in India 'TOOOOO CUUUTE' :) They call us 'Helen Madam' and 'Jessica Madam' too. They all have to wear little pink uniforms and constantly wave at me throughout every day.
This weekend, Jess and I are going to the big palace in Hyderabad where the king of Hyderabad used to live. We're also heading to church for the first time on Sunday, with a man called Nagar, a student at the campus who just happens to be the funniest (unintentionally of course) man alive. I literally want to bring him home so you an all meet him. I'm sure i can upload his rendition AND DANCE ROUTINE to Shakira's 'Waka- Waka' on to here some how....
Over and out for now, as i have a meeting with someone to hopefully arrange for Jess and I to teacher more of the staff in the busy first 3 floors of the hospital. But i promise, more details of my adventures and all my Indian embarrassing moments so far, VERY SHORTLY. Here's a taster, wearing sarrees, crashing a birthday party whilst wearing one, the Indian bus system and jumping on and off them, trains, having lunch at complete strangers houses, nose-piercings, mehendi (henna), marriage proposals....and much much more ;)
Take it easy, loads of love Helen Madam xxxxx