Sunday, 17 February 2013

Sunday 17th February - the start of the adventure!

5am we land in Delhi and I don't think it's quit sunk in yet that we're actually here! Sadly the rain has followed us here, but that's nothing new as I think we can probably all attest to and we are hoping for better weather as the week progresses!

Time for a quick nap at the WaterAid India office (not under the tables, we do actually have the luxury of beds!), although the noisy people and car horns outside did not make for a very restful break! All before breakfast which consisted of lots of things that we thought we recognised but either didn't taste the same (toast & jam) or that we wouldn't ordinarily have put together (sweet, poofy samosa things with potato curry). It all went down though! Breakfast was also punctuated with fireworks which we thought it was lovely of WaterAid to organise until we realised it was in fact in honour of a new political leader being sworn in!

So then the adventure really started in earnest when we left for the train station! How we didn't get hit by a bike, car, tuk-tuk, animal etc I will never know! The general methodology appeared to be walk out and prey whatever it was stopped! But all of us made it through unscathed eventually through the scrum that was the security barrier! And after the longest platform walk in living memory (24!! Carriages) we hauled and scrambled our way onto our sleeper carriage that was to be our home for the next 6 hours. Those of us with top bunks elegantly (!!) clambered up - note to self - much easier to get up than down (but that's a whole other story, and a problem we solved after a few aborted attempts and some comedy moments!).

By the time we woke up a couple of hours later we were in the midst of rural India and spent an educational couple of hours watching the world go by out of the window just absorbing the country and all it's smells! Matthew (WaterAid India) also told us about the problems regarding access to clean water in the area - there are problems with leachates and chemicals infiltrating the system, added to by the pressure of over abstraction of groundwater leaves some areas in a perilous position. The water supply is provided by the government but it is unregulated so there is a disparity in both its distribution and its quality. There certainly is no guarantee of access to water, or that that water will be safe to drink.

Just goes to show the fantastic work that WaterAid are doing and why it is vital for both health and quality of life...and I for one cannot wait to see some of their work first hand...

Tomorrow we are going out into the Morena district of the area to see pre and post intervention communities and spend time with families in those communities...follow us at @WIPIndia2013 to get snippets of our trip and follow the other members of the team...

Caroline x

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