Sunday, January 29, 2012

A voice...

Before the holidays, I had the opportunity to visit an NGO called Goonj. I was not familiar with it and was accompanying a group of school kids that were making a donation of used clothes. It was such an interesting and a very cool organization. Nestled in a part of Delhi that I had not visited, we made our way back through the narrow walkway that connects the different rooms that make up the organization.

On one side there are people sorting clothes--what can be reused, what needs to be repaired, what can be transformed. Because Goonj lets no piece of cloth go to waste, everything is used. The NGO takes used clothing or cloth and redistributes it to those in need. But, it does so with an interest in the community. As our guide explained, they have a "work for cloth" program which gives clothes to those in need who help our their community. The example she gave was of a village needing a small bridge, the people who work on the project received clothes. This way, as she explained, there is a sense of dignity. Check out the website for more details and information: GOONJ

If you click on this photo, you can see the community work accomplished in "cloth for work":

One of two sorting rooms we visited:

My favorite, the room with the looms:

Absolutely nothing wasted. Here they use old denim and cloth to make a bag. See the strips above and below the rectangular pocket? Made of cloth woven with cassette tape...yes, cassette tape. We had to explain what the was to the school kids!

So, if you're in Delhi and  you're going through your closets or getting rid of household linens, don't throw any of it away. Think about Goonj and what they can do with it.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Nehru Planetarium and Museum

The Nehru Planetarium and Museum is on our daily path between schools so we drive by every single day. We've seen uniformed school kids making their way through the impressive main gates and crowds of tourist buses parked in front of the planetarium. During the school holiday, we decided to go for a visit.

Just inside the gate to the planetarium, just off the main road, is this huge rocket. To the boys' delighted surprise, they realized how often we've driven by it.
The planetarium museum is small but has interactive displays, which the boys loved.

Inside this space capsule is a photo of the first Indian astronaut in space. Arthur kept waving hello to him.
Space suit.
We had some time before the planetarium film started so we walked over to the Nehru Museum. It is a huge building where he lived as Prime Minister.
 The back garden is just as large as impressive as the front side.

 Of the many rooms (bedrooms, sitting rooms) Nehru's office:
There were also many displays of photos giving a timeline of his life and the historic events in India that led up to him being Prime Minister. Also, many kinds of objects on display. I liked this one--a golden key to the city of New York.
 And, the boys liked the French cannon:
On the way back to the planetarium, we walked up the steep stairs:
At the top of this former hunting lodge, we had a great view of the surrounding trees.
The planetarium film on the stars and light pollution was (very loud but) interesting. We'll definitely go back to see the film on astronauts.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Visiting with a friend

One of the great things about having a friend who works in the airline industry is that you never know when she'll send a text message saying she's coming in a few days. I saw her quite often when I was in Paris, not at all in New Caledonia or Reunion but... lucky me, I got to see her twice last month! It's a rare thing that she gets the flight to Delhi, so I couldn't have been happier. It was great timing, too, since we were all on school holiday. The sad part is that we only got to spend a day with her.

So, on our first day, we had a nice lunch out and walked around our neighborhood.

Checking out a construction site:

On her next day in Delhi, we ventured out to Deer Park. We were excited to see some deer but also the ruins of a 14th century reservoir.

Have you ever seen a peacock fly?

Finding the reservoir was harder than I had imagined. We walked all around Deer Park (the boys even played for a bit at a nice playground), saw lots of peacocks and deer eating...then finally we found it (after asking twice).

Oh, there's the sign...we came from the other side where there was no sign...

And, she took this photo of me and the boys with my parents (the only one I have of all of us from their visit):
Missing her so much already!

Monday, January 9, 2012

While out shopping...

Last Monday happened to be my mom's last Monday in Delhi, so we decided spend an hour (or so) at Dilli Haat, one of my favorite shopping spots as seen here: Retail Therapy. It was the perfect time to go because it was as if all of the handicraft vendors I've ever seen and liked were there, my own personalized Dilli Haat. The event was called the Dasktari Haat Samiti and was very similar to the Dasktar Mela that I've gone to for the past two years, as seen here: Dasktar, with loads of beautifully crafted scarves, linens, housewares, clothing, decorations, jewelry and clothes intermingled with artisans showing how to make their beautiful crafts. The added bonus was an area dedicated to handicrafts from Africa. As my mom and I walked through their stalls, I stopped quickly and had to take a step back and catch my breath when I came across the South African stand. There in front of me were embroidered wall hangings and pillow covers I had seen when we were in Cape Town on vacation in 2007. This is the one we bought back then:
The photo's a bit dark but the embroidery is absolutely amazing. Seeing the similar hangings at Dilli Haat immediately transported me back four years...

Amazing spots:

And views of the cliffs and ocean:

Friendly people (yes, that's Dorian as a wee lad):

 Beautiful parks:

Gorgeous jewelry at the Gold of Africa museum:

A fun city to walk around in:

 And, Dorian's favorite:

Vineyard tours:

We didn't spend nearly enough time there and just saw a glimpse of the country but we have such good memories. Now, fast forward back to last Monday at Dilli Haat, I bought these two to go with our wall hanging:

I also had a nice chat with the woman selling them. When I got home I decided to look up more about the organization on their website: Kaross. Check it out, it's really cool and what they make is amazingly beautiful.

And, if you're in Delhi, Dasktari Haat Samiti is on at Dilli Haat until January 15th.

Friday, January 6, 2012

photo of the week...

You just never know what you'll see from your car window when driving around Delhi. This, I just love: