We made it!

We made it!

Monday, January 2, 2012

26 days on the road – life is hard

Life on the road travelling through rural India with a family can be hard work. There is very little quiet time, Gus our three year old little Manny is needing constant attention and in some of our accommodation this can only be provided in a small hotel room. The bigger kids require a lot of attention and support, they are always hungry and needing food, help finding their clothes as well as wanting time with us. Bec and I sometimes go days without much more than a quick cuddle and kiss good night. We haven’t actually slept in the same bed more than a couple of times on this trip. Most of our accommodation has Gus in with one of us in a single bed, one of the girls in the other bed, the other of us with the other of the girls on a small mattress on the floor, it is far from luxury. We have had cold showers most of the time which isn’t great given it is quite cool in the mornings and evenings. Gus’s hair resembles a steelo pad, a matt of blonde tangles that are shoulder length, dirty from a lack of washing and I am sure by the end of the trip will end up being dreadlocks. Maggie quite likes being able to avoid showering and claims that walking through the rain yesterday was her wash. Indy likes to be clean and organised so the lack of showering troubles her somewhat. Each day there is someone with some sort of a pain, usually a stomach cramp which is always hard to determine how severe, fortunately only a bit of wind so far. Popsy is gradually deteriorating, he is not eating or drinking as it makes him feel sick and despite our encouragement of medication and a rest day he is determined to work his way through whatever he is suffering from. Nothing severe but a slow deterioration which is of concern to the rest of the team. Last night he claimed he broke wind in the night and unfortunately it had a bit of follow through, just another one of the physical challenges of an Indian diet.

The place we have stayed the past four nights during the night we have had loud banging coming from the front of the hotel, not quite sure what it is. Our light in our room mysteriously comes on at about 4am in the morning, not sure why and much to Indy’s disgust. By now the washing has piled up to a crescendo and we have clothes hanging from every possible vantage point. We were even told off by the hotel management for having our clothes hanging in the window – they do have standards – we just struggle at times to work out which ones. We haven’t had internet access for the past 5 days so feel very closed off from the world. This has also meant that we haven’t been able to secure our next accommodation stop so as we head off today we are hoping firstly we can find RUHSA, secondly they are expecting us, and thirdly that the available accommodation will be enough for us all. I am trying to capture as much of our journey as possible on a daily basis, which usually involves me typing very quickly as the end of the day while the kids run around the room, the rest of the adults are in debriefing on the day and I try to shut out the noise and get down what I can. Ah the joys of being on the road.

Each day though there are far more special moments, the afternoon coffee debrief is always a highlight and just interacting everyday with the people we meet and in our environment makes it all worthwhile. Yep life in the road is hard but that’s what we signed up for, we are being tested every day in every possible way but so far everyone on the team has stepped up, dug deep and brought their A game. We are working hard as a family to face all of the impending challenges and so far are keeping our head above water.

Today we hear that the cyclone that hit Chennai has already claimed 30+ lives and when you see the living conditions here in India you can easily imagine how these lives could be lost. It is very sobering news as we take a minute to think about the people and in particular the children living on the street, those who are sick and vulnerable to the elements – what happens to them? So as this cyclone hits Chennai what do you do as a young child living on the street? Where do you go for shelter, for warmth, for safety? I don’t know, I don’t want to think about what is in store for these vulnerable kids living on the street.

Our troubles are really quite miniscule compared to those we see on our travels, ours are also temporary and ours can be ended any time we decide we have had enough. We remind ourselves that this is why we are here. We came o this journey for an enhanced perspective, for a massive challenge and to achieve our Big Hairy Audacious Goal to walk across India as a family and so far the adventure has provided all of this and more. I often reflect on a passage from M Scott Peck’s book ‘The Road Less Travelled’ where he writes ‘life is difficult’. ‘The challenge is that many people seek out a life that is easy, that somehow that is the life everybody else has, which he says ofcourse isn’t the case’. He says ‘that once we accept that life is difficult then life no longer is difficult because it is accepted as part of life’. So we again remind ourselves that this is what we signed up for and face whatever challenges today will throw at us – right now Gus kicking at the door wanting to go to the park downstairs that is closed due to the rain, he has a healthy dose of cabin fever after 48+hours stuck in a room with little to do.

Time to go and face the next challenge……

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