India - Day 1
January 7, 2019 | 11:59 PM
Alexia Helmer, Communications & Web Content Coordinator
We’ve made it to Ahmedabad, India!
Our first full day here has been an absolute blast. After many months of waiting for this trip, it hasn’t taken long for us to immerse ourselves in their culture. We’ve also found that there isn’t as much of a language barrier as we thought there would be since some Indians can speak English, even if it’s knowing just enough to ask for a selfie with the Americans (which has happened almost every place we’ve gone to so far).
The first place we visited in Ahmedabad was the Community Care Clinic (CCC), a Christian clinic which was the nonprofit organization Christina Anozie, assistant professor of social work, helped organize during her time in grad school. Many from the community who aren’t able to afford to go to a hospital lined up to get help from the doctors on site, and the students took turns praying for some of the individuals who received free medical assistance from the clinic. In the two hours they were open for medical treatment, the center served 44 people. It was quite an amazing experience seeing so many being given the support and help they are needing from their own community.
Our next stop was a visit to another nonprofit called “Manay Gulzar,” which means “A Place to Blossom.” The school is located in the second biggest slum in Gujarati, the state which Ahmedabad is located in, and it is home to 60,000 people. The school serves those in the slum by giving those students who quit going to school outside of the slum easier access to an education, as well as giving counseling to those with alcohol addiction, helping people learn how to save money and teaching them the skills to find a job. We were given a tour of the school and the slum, and learned that it is quite a unique neighborhood because, instead of being segregated, both Hindus and Muslims have worship temples near each other and even go to school together.
After visiting the nonprofits, we travelled to the Gandhi Ashram and learned about the freedom movement which was started there. A couple of the students even learned how to spin cotton. We also tasted some authentic Indian street food, a dish called “Chana Chor Garam” which is a spicy snack made from Chickpeas.
But the most exciting part of the day was riding in a rickshaw all around the city and driving through the crazy traffic in Ahmedabad.
This is only the beginning of what will be an incredible and immersive learning experience, and we can’t wait to see what the rest of our trip has in store for us!