Olivia Adams Snehalaya charity update
Olivia Adams, friend of SlipTest, reports back on her first few days working with the Snehalaya charity as part of the Leeds RAG project.
I arrived into Mumbai on Friday 7th at 3am and after a brief sleep, I spent my first day seeing all the city's top tourist places. These included the Laundry slum, Fisherman's slum, the Hanging gardens and the gateway of India followed by some haggling in the local markets! Saturday lunchtime our driver picked us up and we headed for the project!
After a long 7 hour drive around some mad roads with our taxi driver driving on the other side of road several times we arrived safely (to our amazement!) at Snehalaya. We were welcomed by all the children who came running to the cars to open the doors and introduce themselves. I felt my heart warm, but the feeling of being overwhelmed and nervous was still very much prominent. I spent the next half an hour taking in such an incredible place before we went to dinner with Nick an English worker here at the charity! We spent our first night chatting and playing with the kids, getting to know their names, favourites colours, actors, and seeing all their dorms. It was an unbelievable start to my two weeks here.
On Sunday I woke up and had curry for breakfast - something I never thought I would do! However, the food was delicious and gave me an insight to the Indian way of eating- with our hands!! Nick then gave us a tour of the charity and we visited each of the girls and boys dorms to see one of the most important places to them. The rooms were filled with incredibly happy children who just wanted to play, show us there drawings and things they had made and get to know what we liked and enjoyed! However, the reality of Snehalaya and why the children were here hit me hard when I saw some who had been very ill and were recovering thanks to the medical staff here on the project, working hard 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We ended the day by heading out with the whole charity including children and staff for a meal thanks to a donation made by one of Nick's friends. For this trip we went on the school buses with several children sitting on each of our laps - think of a sauna and that's what is like then add a load of children all singing their national anthem-it was truly amazing! We pulled up into a village and all 250 children clambered off the buses up to the rooftop of a house, whilst we watched the family prepare our food for the night! Little did we know this evening was going to practically turn into a rave! We spent the rest of the night dancing away with all the kids to their favourite Indian chart music before sitting down to eat a meal. This has to be the strangest yet funniest thing I have ever done! After this we headed home for a well deserved sleep before yet another jam packed day!
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