How did I get there?
During my bachelors of honours in International Health I got the chance to visit India for 4 weeks doing field visits, going into hospitals and to general practitioners, going to the most rural areas with no roads and access to the rest of the world. This internship was mainly based in Karnataka, starting from Bangalore and Mysore to BR Hills.
After those 4 weeks I had time to backpack for a couple of weeks throughout India.
India a county of controversy. A country I developed a love-hate relationship for.
Smells, Taste and Colours
So overwhelming were those colours of women’s saris. So full of colour were the markets and the fruit stands. On the other side the streets were all grey and dirty..
Indian food is known to be spicy or at least full of spices. For Europeans it can be very challanging but still once you get used to it, you do not want to stop eating anymore. Currys, naan, masalas, dal, etc. you name it..a huge variety of meals. And on the same time the country smells like urine/feces. A very weird mix I have to admit. As the government did not manage to control the usage of roads and walls as toilets, it still smells like urine all over India. Boards stating : “Do not urinate” on streets and parks do not do their job.
Friendly and welcoming. Those two words describe the mjaority of people. You get invited to homes, where people do not even have anything to offer as they live with 5 people in one tiny room, but still they would offer you whatever they have (chai).
There is another not too small group of people, which consists of men having no respect of women. Unfortunately this is till true in India. Every time I tried talking to a male Indian, asking the directions or something about the menu, they would turn to our male friend and answering to him. There were many situations where we, as girls did not feel safe in India. It still is a big problem: families rather have boys than girls, find boys a better investment wihch leads to a inequality on many levels. Girls are less frequently sent to school, even if they are, they are not send to achieve higher education. Health care is divided between genders inequally as well. Girls and women get less health care treatments and have a very visible health disadvantage.
Nowadays, a shift is being seen…people become aware and minds change slowly but surely.