The trip to Ankuri was an absolute adventure. After arriving at the Dehli airport and waiting for many hours, we met our escorts and made it to the train, where we had 5 hours of seeing the stacked indian houses, trash piles, half built projects, huts scattered throughout wheat fields, wandering cows and dogs, and people staring and pointing at us (we were the only white people I saw besides 1-2 people). I've never felt so much like a minority and it is certainly an experience that many of my family and friends have never experience and it will be hard to explain what it felt like once I get back. They fed us lots of simple, yummy food and kept bringing us black tea on the train! My reward for smiling and saying thank you in response to the service was to get a survey on customer service and a request for a tip. :)
After the train we were escorted by two Ankuri men to a car. They drove us through Dehradun to Ankuri and it was the most terrifying car ride of my life. We were squeezing past cars and motor cycles, driving in the other lane, honking at pedestrians who got within a foot of the car it seemed.....
Ankuri is literally a manor estate inherited from a family line that is over 250 years old. I feel a bit like an anthropology princess: We have a giant, tiled room, are served dinner, and yet will be interacting daily with the local people by teaching and helping with the knitting project. It will be hard to be thought of as an 'insider' who is on the same level of these people based on our treatment. This is just another challenge that we will have to overcome!
When I was preparing for this trip I had planned out a research project I could do here for my honors thesis. However, after arriving here it is apparent that I will have to do some major revisions. The questions I have prepared aren't even relevant in the context of the indian culture and infrastructure. I will keep you posted on what I decide to do!
The internet is very slow, so the number of pictures I can upload is limited, but I will be working to find a way around this (perhaps by uploading lower quality photographs).
In and out,