Everyday I walk to and from my placement about a half hour from where I’m living. I live in the village of Slow, which is about a twenty minute walk from the main road in Arla, which is about a twenty minute bus ride from Palampur, in Himachal Pradesh.


My walk to school is all uphill. It’s like a hike everyday to work, and I often have a backpack full of supplies and a bottle of water and snacks (for me and the kids) and whatever else I might need before I make the journey back to where I’m living. Though the first few days I wanted to die on the walk, I’ve not gotten used to it and really quite enjoy it.


Everyday I may encounter cows wandering and mooooing – something I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard before, like I knew cows mooed, but I don’t think I had ever actually heard it. There will definitely be cars honking as they approach me – warning me to get off the road.


Often I walk by young boys showering in their underwear at the taps on the street, not ashamed or embarrassed as you’d assume, but excited to see me with huge smiles.


There will be monkeys staring me down as I pass by them, the babies grabbing onto their mom’s in case they need to run away from me. I may get splashed by a huge puddle or step in poo – that could have come from: a cow, a donkey, a monkey, a horse, a goat, a dog and there’s a slim chance it may be human…


I will nearly get killed by the bus that passes me every morning. The driver races along as though he’s driving his bus at Indy – with passengers on the roof racks since there’s not enough room for all the passengers inside…


Sometimes I get offered a ride – which I always refuse. Usually I have at least a few young men yell ‘Heelllloooooooo’ as they race by on their motorcycles with smirks on their faces in excitement, having talked to a white woman!


There are always women and young girls collecting water from the taps along the street – most houses don’t have running water in them. They have a scarf wound into a circle, sitting on their head and then they load the pitcher of water on top. One hand holds it in place and the other carries another bottle of two.


But the thing that always makes me smile are the children I see. Once I’m in view to them there’s yelling to call whoever else out and I have packs of little children waving at me. ‘Helloo! Hi! Helloooo!!! Hiiiiiii! What’s your name? Where you come?’ When I wave back and reply with ‘I’m Katie’, I’m responded to with a fit of giggles and ‘Katie!’ Sometimes they come out to shake my hand as well or wave from their rooftops. All with the biggest smiles and arms stretched as big as they can waving and waving, until I’m out of view…






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