My name is Makeda Barr-Brown and I’m a rising Senior at Penn from Hartford, CT. I’m majoring in International Relations and completing a minor in History. Over the summer I will be an intern at LEAP Skills in New Delhi.
My last couple of days in the States were jam-packed with last minute American indulgences, mostly lots of fudge, peanut butter, The Food Network, and Rupaul’s Drag Race. I figured that it was my last chance to enjoy some of my favorite things before I went off to Delhi for 10 weeks.
Before I left, I didn’t know what to expect from New Delhi. I had read horror stories about extreme poverty, corruption and crime, disrespect towards women, and heat that would scorch me alive. To be honest, the closer I got to boarding my flight the less excited I was becoming. I was worried that I was going to be alone in a dangerous city with nothing to do. I was already looking forward to coming home. My internship was beginning to seem like more of a requirement and less of an adventure.
While there is some truth in all of the warnings I’ve heard about Delhi (I can confirm that I drown in my own sweat daily), there is also something magical about this city. I didn’t realize this until yesterday night when I was in an Uber on my way back from work. I was coming back after the sun had gone down and there was a completely different energy to the city. People were in less of a rush and the streets were quieter. I could feel a certain sense of mystery in the air (potentially because I couldn’t see very far in the darkness with all the haze). There were bright, colorful lights everywhere. I could hear the mooing of cows in the street, the laughter of children, and music playing from people’s cars. It was refreshing to hear something besides the usual car horns and people trying to sell me things. For the first time in my 4 days here the city had slowed down enough for me to see its beauty.
As I continue to get to know the city that I’ll be calling home for the next 10 weeks, I hope to be able to gain a better understanding of the culture. I hope to be able to find tranquility in all the chaos, quiet in all the noise, and light in a place that is often depicted as being very dark. I am starting to feel much more comfortable in my surroundings, so hopefully I’ll be able to find the adventure that I was yearning for before I arrived.