Wednesday, May 27, 2009


My expectation of Kolkata was chaos and super over crowdedness. I was wrong. Ya, there were lots of people and cars, but I think Delhi was more chaotic. One big difference was that there were almost no auto-rickshaws, mainly big yellow taxis.

I only had three days in Kolkata before my visa expired (India starts your visa when you apply for it, so it’s better to get it at the country you’re in just before you go) so I checked out Mother Theresa’s House. I really wanted to look into some volunteer work, even if it was for a few days. I found out that there were several different houses you could volunteer for any amount of time. Some of the different houses were people who were dying, disabled children, disabled women, etc. As they were explaining the different houses and what I to do there I soon realized that it would have been more harmful than good to just volunteer for three days. I mean the resources they would have to use to train me just for three days would have been better spent on the people at the houses. Thus, I opted to volunteer another time when I had more time in Kolkata.

The Mother Theresa also had advice on giving to beggars, don’t. They said that ones on the tourist street are run by the mob. If you do give food, make sure you open it first or they will just return the food to the store to get the money. Also, some children beggars are not really destitute, they go to school and have a house, but try their luck to see how much they can get. And some of the women beggars hire children or babies from the local slums so they can get more pity/money. In essence, giving anything to beggars encourages that behavior and undermines the work of NGO’s who are qualified to help. If you want to give money, it would be more useful to give to those NGO’s.

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