My arrival in India
Thoughts penned by our German Volunteer
I must not lie. One could say my arrival in India was definitely tumultuous.
In the middle of September, another volunteer and myself flew an approximate of 8000 kilometres across the globe, leaving at the peak of summer in Germany in order to arrive in an even sunnier India 24 hours later.
Our Trip started in Düsseldorf International Airport, flying to London Heathrow for a layover and from there 10 hours to Chennai (Madras).
I did not sleep for one second on both flights due to being so excited, realising our adventure had finally begun. I had
chosen and applied for a voluntary project in the beginning of the year and after months of preparation, the day was finally here. As I sat in the plane, I tried to adjust to the thought that my life, from this point onwards, would take a complete U-turn.
As the lights went out, I tried to sleep but rather I found myself thinking about and imagining my life in India as well as hoping that I would adjust quickly.
It was 3 am in the morning (IST) when we arrived at Chennai airport. Both of us were completely drained. At this point we had been awake for 24 hours but non the less were to excited to shut an eye.
As we followed the crowd, trying to find our way out of the airport, we reached the immigration counter. Here followed an unpleasant 20 minutes of being questioned about everything one could imagine. Why I am in India. What kind of work I will be doing here. What my profession in Germany had been. And so on… From others, I had heard that this might happen but one cannot prepare nor expects it to happen to themselves.
However as suddenly as I got asked to sit in their office, as quickly they told me that I could leave. I quickly packed up my things and we headed to baggage claim where our baggage - the only ones left - was being guarded by an airport employee.
We had to wait another 10 hours for our fellow volunteer to reach Chennai. Once we were complete, we packed our bags into a car and made our way to The Hope House. It took us over two hours.
The three of us were amazed by the first glimpse of India we got on that car ride. Neither of us had ever been to this country before and so we watched the streets carefully and every palm tree and cow we saw excited us.
By 5 pm we reached our destination. We got shown our room and having unpacked some of our things, we lay in our beds. By 6 pm we were all asleep and slept until 7 am the next morning. Our adventure had begun.