Monday, October 3, 2016

DAY TWO SUMMARY, by Crystal Liu and Jimmy Lu

After breakfast, Krishna encouraged us to be confident and comfortable during our visit to the Dharavi slum. We all shared our thoughts and expectations of what we would see, and Krishna told us to go in with a open mind. People in Dharavi are proud of their work and where they live, and he encouraged us to respect what we saw. A few hours later, we learned that Dharavi was very different from what we expected, in a good way.
We were surprised to find out that we were taking public transit to get to Dharavi—some of us were a little nervous. The bus was hot and crowded, and the doors were always open, but it was a good ride. Just like in China, people were traveling to work, watching movies on their phones, or sleeping against the window. Same stuff, different country! After getting off the bus, we met Krishna’s coworker, Suraj, and jumped on a train that would take us to Dharavi. We were in the second class car, which is the most popular choice for people taking the trains in Mumbai. During the trip, we learned a lot about how people took the train in India. We were surprised to learn that people often like standing more than sitting! Suraj taught us how to jump off of a moving train at the station. Don’t worry, though, we only got off once the train had stopped; Suraj just told us how people sometimes jump off when it is still moving, and we got to see a few passengers do it.
In Dharavi, the first place we visited was the industrial area. We went into a factory that recycled plastic and another that recycled tin cans, like the ones used to carry paint. Even though it is called a slum, and people often have negative opinions of slums, Dharavi is a very important place partly because of those factories. People were friendly and happy to tell us about their work, and we saw what Krishna meant when he said people were proud of what they were doing. We left the industrial area and took a walk through the streets where people live. The houses were small, there were lots of children playing, and the streets were sometimes very narrow. We saw how close people lived together in Dharavi. The kids were so cute and almost everyone said “Hello” or “Namaste” as we walked through!
After walking through Dharavi, we went to Krishna’s NGO, Reality Gives, and met some young Indian people who grew up in Dharavi. They were all students taking courses in English and computers, and they were really excited to practice English and meet us. At first we were a little nervous, because we didn’t know what to talk about, but having lunch together made us all feel comfortable. After lunch, we had a question and answer session. The Indian students got to ask us five questions about China and we asked five questions about India and Dharavi. When it was time to leave, everyone was sad—we still wanted to talk and learn more about each other.
We end the day back at the hotel, playing funny games together. Dinner was AMAZING and it was at a cool restaurant on a roof nearby our hotel. Tomorrow, we will be traveling to Chinchoti. We are a little nervous about the travel, but everything has been great so far and we know it will continue to be a awesome trip.


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