Elizabeth in India

Elizabeth is a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering in the Lyle School of Engineering. She was awarded a Maguire and Irby Family Foundation Public Service Internship for summer 2013 from the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at SMU. Elizabeth will be working in Bangalore, India, with the Leave UR Mark organization on a water conservation and literacy design project.

Read more from Elizabeth in India

First week in India

DSC01690

At work with the Water Literacy Foundation

Oftentimes when you are traveling, you have to put your trust in random strangers. No? Well, maybe that’s just my experience then.

Traveling to India alone was a journey in and of itself. When I boarded the plane in D/FW, I had no idea what or who was waiting for me on the other end. I have only ever flown alone one other time in my life, but I was young enough to be a part of the program where flight attendants escort you to where you need to be. So I did not know what to expect after I landed in India, let alone what to do during my connection in London.

Luckily, I met some pretty awesome people on both flights. On my way to London, a 16-year-old French foreign exchange student sat next to me. It was great to see how we both helped each other out. The way she talked about being away from her family for six months gave me courage about being away from mine for two, and I was the older girl who offered her protection. Together, we made our way through the London airport until we were forced to separate during the security process.

The person sitting next to me on my flight to Bangalore was equally awesome. She went by Sunny, and she gave me all sorts of advice for my time in Bangalore. She really helped to calm my nerves, and I am so thankful for my time with her. However, once I landed in India, my nerves came flooding back. What if the guy who was supposed to meet me wasn’t there?! After all, it was 4 in the morning. Everything went smoothly, though, and after about an hour waiting for my luggage, I was in a car on my way to the city. After 20 hours of traveling, I slept the rest of the day.

Journey to the Water Literacy Foundation

Path to the Water Literacy Foundation

The next day started my adventure in India. The only thing planned was to map out my path to Water Literacy Foundation and meet my boss. This took all day. I wish I could write about all of my bus adventures … but they would make up an entire blog alone. Never again will I be afraid of the Dallas public transportation system. I am constantly lost and unable to communicate with the conductor. I can only imagine what the locals are thinking.

Rice for dinner

Rice for dinner

I arrived to meet my boss, who works from his home. While I was waiting, I became acquainted with his entire family. Indian families truly are remarkably hospitable. They cook me a traditional Indian meal twice a day, which is normally rice that I eat with my right hand, and oftentimes serve me chai, which is my new favorite thing in this world.

My boss is an incredible man. I will go into more detail about him and his mission at a later date, but it is an amazing opportunity that I have to work with him. Right now, my work includes a lot of PR due to the fact that I speak English. In return for this, Mr. Masagi takes me to his project sites and teaches me about his rainwater-harvesting systems. For more information, his website is www.rainwaterconcepts.co.in

Overall, my first week in India has been, what I would call, crazy. Some interesting facts about adjusting to the culture here: I shower out of a bucket; as I mentioned before, I eat with my hand; and traffic lanes are more like guidelines that may or may not be followed … especially when there is a cow in the middle of the road. Also, do not eat the street food.

DSC01687

Share this story:

    About Sarah Hanan

    EA-PubAffairs(Periodicals)
    This entry was posted in Elizabeth in India and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.