Thursday, April 29, 2010

Time Warp

Suddenly it is time to be serious about India! I've been checking off lists - electric adaptor, visa, post card labels. Now the list is "ruppees" and "malaria drugs." I do NOT have to negotiate chopsticks this year!

The weather in Dharamsala looks warm and wet - highs in the uper 70s and rain every day and night. I thought I was missing the monsoon season, but maybe this is just a rainy spell.

Lots of folks are asking if Bob is coming. I have the most wonderful husbnd in the world who understands these are trips I have to do on my own. I suppose it is a latent rebellion against the 50's "women can only be teachers, nurses and secretaries...until they get married." He worries...and then meets me at the airport.

Monday, April 26, 2010


I am serving with Cross Cultural Solutions this time.

There are about 15 of us arriving in Dehli on May 17 and then about 1/2 of them going to Dharamsala at the same time. We are all from the US, Canada or England. Volunteers rotate in and out of a central house as they work on different projects in the area and stay for different amounts of time. Three people to a sleeping area, "western" toilet and "bucket" shower. I like the idea of staying with other volunteers. Sometimes decompressing after a work day is easier if there are folks to talk to.

I have strong malaria drugs for this trip and had typhoid vaccine. Amazing to think that those diseases are still so common when we hear so little of them here. I went to a doctor who specialized in travel preparation. What a fascinating sub speciality!

I have been reading fiction and nonfiction about India. Any book suggestions?

There are very distinct geographic and cultural areas, and I will be in the far north. Dharamsala is more conservative than the bigger cities, espcially for those working with children. We were told to bring only minimal clothgin and plan ot by the appropriate dress in Dehli. I am very excited!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Where is Dharamsala?

Dharamsala (pronounced Dharamshala) is a hill station in Himachal Pradesh. The Tibetan Buddhist roots of Dharamsala stretch back into the 8th century, although most of the local population long since reverted to (and remains) Hindu. "Dharamsala" literally means an "inn attached to a temple."

Much of the town was destroyed in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake of 4th April 1905, which killed over 10,000 people in this sparsely populated area. After falling into obscurity in the early days of Indian independence, Dharamsala regained some social standing in 1959 with the arrival of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile.

The town is divided into two distinct areas that are separated by a ten minute (9 km.) bus/jeep ride: Dharamsala itself (or Lower Dharamsala), a typical small Indian town that, other than for the bus station, is of little interest to tourists, and Upper Dharamsala, known more commonly as McLeod Ganj (named after David McLeod, once the British Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab). It is this upper district that is home to the Tibetan community and the center of tourist activity.

My 3-week home and mission work will be in lower Dharamsala with the Hindi poulation.

Monday, April 19, 2010

India 2010

I am going to Dharmashal, India May 14 to June 5, 2010, with Cross Cultural Solutions. Follow the adventures here!