There's No Place Like Home

Corey writes:

As Gina said in her previous entry, I've been away from home since May 5th. I've been traveling to attend a regional conference on the In-Country Training (ICT) that VSO provides to volunteers. It was in Nainital, about 273 kms northeast of Delhi. It looks like this:

I realize now that I won't get any sympathy from you.

The conference started on 10th May, which meant I needed to leave Koraput the evening of 5th May. There's no direct train from Koraput to Delhi, so I went to Rayagada first (about 5 hours away). After an overnight stay, I caught a morning train to Delhi. 31 hours later, I stepped off that train in New Delhi. The heat! Oh man, the heat. Everyone talks about it, everyone sweats and thinks about it. Now I know what all the poor saps not living at high altitudes feel like.

I stayed with another VSO volunteer and general man-about-Delhi, Liam. We spent the next 36 hours living the metropolitan life: beer, chicken, espressos, shopping, visiting a temple, and house party.

The vehicle to Nainital came to pick me up at 6 a.m. on the 9th, and we were off. The VSO staff person responsible for ICT also attended the conference, so we went together. 12 dusty hours later, we pulled in to the conference venue. It was really unique and beautiful, much better than the standard white-walled, air conditioned hotel conference room.

The only complaint I have is that I was expecting the boring, white-walled, air-conditioned conference experience. Along with television, a working landline, and maybe MAYBE free wifi. But I quickly adapted, eventually finding the one spot about a km away near the local village where I got a mobile signal. Even on a fricking mountaintop, I can still check The Facebook.

The training itself was more fun than I expected. The facilitators were very good, and we got to practice some facilitation ourselves. It's kind of like being a teacher and a circus performer at the same time. "I need someone from the audience, please..." There were reps from all of the Asian VSO Offices (India, China, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Nepal, and Sri Lanka). We got a chance to see what everyone else in the region is doing at their trainings. I also got to learn a little about some cultures other than India. Who knew that Mongolians are really fashionable dressers?

The conference ended on the 15th, and we all went our separate ways. I came back to Delhi and have spent the last couple days doing more espressos, chicken, shopping, and even saw Iron Man 2 (with air conditioning!!!!). Now I'm ready to head back, and will be back on the 20th. Bring on boring Koraput, I'm ready!