India has some of the best food. Or at least, everything we've been given has been divine. And the culture is so service-oriented. Everyone wants to serve you. All the time. Even with things you'd rather do for yourself (like put food on your plate, or turn on your own TV).
A lot of people warned me to be careful when they knew I was coming to India. It was actually kind of annoying to have some people's first comments be, "Better pack some diarrhea meds!" But we've been well taken care of and since we're only here for a short time, there are many things we are avoiding to make sure we don't get sick. No fresh fruit (which is kind of a bummer since it's bound to taste a million times better than what we get in America), but we can have bananas and oranges. We only use bottled water--for drinking, but also to brush our teeth and stuff. And in general, a good range of mild to spicy foods are offered for anyone with a sensitive stomach.
And security? It's everywhere. A lot of hotels have metal detectors or some security check-point. There was even security at the Starbucks we stopped by at once!
Everyone said the traffic was crazy, but I'd say Nigeria and Haiti are worse, so it didn't faze me at all. Although it was quite a treat/surprise to see that they drive on the "wrong" side of the road and car like the British do (which makes total sense, but for some reason, it just never occurred to me). And I was expected to be overwhelmed by filth and smells and stuff, but so far... it's been fine. Nothing has really fazed me. Is it the same standard we'd expect as Americans? Not everywhere. And I guess we've never really ventured into the slums or anything (but then I don't go venturing into the slums of America either).
We've spent most of our time with the organization either visiting the girls' homes or talking about the mission and vision for the future. Church was fun and reminded me a lot of church in Nigeria. A lot of "Praise the Lord" and one of the worship songs was one I knew from Nigeria (although it was sung in Hindi).
Everywhere we go, we are welcome with beautiful leis placed around our necks, and often the offer of chai tea (which all the three times I've had it so far has tasted differently/seemed to mean different things).
The girls have welcomed us into their homes with songs of praise (for God, not us). They are happy to have us here and see them as a family. We are called "Dada" (brother) and "Didi" (sister) out of respect, but I also feel it's an invitation to be a part of their family.
It feels good to be here. And it's been good to learn. There's a lot to soak in and process, but each day is full of anticipation and excitement. I'm happy this is where God led me.