Monday, October 3, 2016

Day One Summary – By Wesley Du and Edward Li

            Even with only a few hours of sleep, we woke up on Friday morning ready for the day’s activities! We started the day by having orientation with Carlos and Krishna, our WLS staff for the trip. We talked about our expectations, norms, and our concerns about the trip. We talked about how we would be leaving our comfort zone and entering a “zone” that helps us learn and discover new ideas.

            After our meeting, we walked to the nearby waterfront and saw the huge Gate of India, which was made to celebrate a visit by the British king, but it also kind of celebrates India’s independence after the last British soldiers left.

            From there, we got on our bus and drove across Mumbai to see the Ban Ganga. The Ban Ganga is a holy place for many Hindu people, with lots of temples surrounding the area. There is also a spring there, where people were leaving gifts for the gods and washing themselves. This was also the first time on the trip where we got to see the reality of life for many people in Mumbai; there were people begging for food and money, including children. This was a new experience for all of us, because the conditions we saw were very different from what we see in Shanghai. We don’t totally understand what we saw yet, but we hope that we learn more.

            After having a delicious Indian lunch, we went to visit the house that Gandhi stayed in whenever he was in Mumbai. We didn’t know very much about Gandhi before visiting the home, but we left with a better understanding of his beliefs and how he lived his life. Mr. Chris told us that Gandhi once said, “People who want to change the world just need a book and a small desk.” No wifi and no internet!

            Finally, we ended our day’s tour with a trip through a busy, busy marketplace. The crowds in the marketplace reminded us of different schools of fish—there were large groups moving in every direction, and sometimes it was hard to keep together. Krishna showed us some of the stalls selling materials for Hindu holidays. He also brought us to a place where cows are kept and taken care of. Cows are holy animals in Hinduism, so taking care of them is a very serious and important job.

            We took taxis back to our hotel and had a short rest before dinner. After dinner was finished, Carlos and Krishna led us in one final meeting, where we talked about our appreciations, news about tomorrow’s activities, concerns we had, and our hopes for the next day. At the end of the meeting, Carlos encouraged us to write a journal about our observations throughout the day—thinking about what we saw.

            All in all, after today’s experiences we are looking forward to learning more and we are excited for our trip to Dharavi slum tomorrow morning.


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