What are some great NGOs in Pune

Fantastic conclusion: chilling out in Goa

After we all happily landed back home, the last twitches of the gastrointestinal virus (hopefully) have now subsided and the corona crisis has hit us with full force here (if we had started the trip a little later) we can probably spend 2 weeks including quarantine in India), I can't avoid briefly describing the last days of our trip to India.

On Tuesday, February 25th, 2020, we set off for the airport in Pune with our tried and tested bus driver who was always accident-free. This was followed by a short one-hour flight with Spicejet to Goa, the former Portuguese colony on the west coast of India and, in the 1970s, a hippie paradise. From the airport there it was a two-hour taxi ride to our “Yab Yum Resort”, right on Ashvem Beach near Mandrem in North Goa. The distribution of the taxis was a kind of lottery. Some had air conditioning in the car and arrived relaxed, others sometimes squeezed into a taxi with five or six people without real air conditioning. Shit happens!

The resort was a kind of palm jungle paradise, mainly with coconut houses for two or three people, the beds all with large mosquito nets, located directly on the beach with a small bar and restaurant. Very chilled atmosphere. After distributing the rooms, we went straight to the spacious beach for a swim. 27 degrees warm water was not really cooling, but everyone enjoyed the holiday feeling on the beach and in the sea after the exhausting last days.

So the next three days could be endured in a very relaxing atmosphere. You took long walks on the beach, dozed off on the loungers on the beach, romped around in the sea and played shark attacks, fended off the very stubborn beach vendors (manicure? Pedicure? Nice massage?) Sometimes more, sometimes less successfully or observed the bird life and talked with the ornithological experts (Sönke, Holger, Stefan) about whether it was actually the gray-tailed Milan (or something like that). In the evening we ate twice in a great French outdoor restaurant within walking distance with fantastic fresh fish dishes on a long table. We went back to the resort on the dark beach of the Arabian Sea.

A wonderful mixture of sunscreen and "No Bite" was always applied to the skin in the morning, but it could not repel all mosquito attacks. In addition, some made the acquaintance of the local wildlife. Felix saw a snake at the resort, and when I opened the toilet lid, I discovered a toad that looked at me cheekily. After a brief advice from my roommates, I gave her a slide back into the "Waterworld of the sewer system" by pressing the flush button. Ann Kristin had unfortunately not seen a toad that was also lumpy in the dark at night, so she noticed the toad for the first time through the crack on her buttocks. It's not very pleasant, but you haven't been to the Harz Mountains either.

At lunchtime it got unbearably hot and humid. Sweat from all pores. In these situations, my old school friends had kindly always called me Martin Bangemann, in reference to a somewhat plump FDP politician from the seventies and eighties who may not be known to everyone and who tended to perspire very quickly in panel discussions. I also felt just as “afraid”.

A large part of the group then visited a very lively and colorful market in the next larger city on Friday, with all the spices, fruits, fish etc. that one can imagine in India. Unfortunately it was very hot there too ...

Of course - how could it be otherwise in Goa - we also enjoyed a yoga session at the resort. Our Irish yoga teacher David, type Sean Connery on an esoteric trip, was a very strict master with a somewhat crazy laugh. Some like Wübbi and Elke were already experienced in yoga and accordingly flexible; Justus and I, on the other hand, sometimes had our difficulties with the balance exercises and then landed regularly like a wet sack and not very supple on the mat. But laughing was not allowed; Yoga is serious business.

On Saturday, after the electricity and water had been turned off in the huts from 10 a.m., it was time to return home. The taxis went back to Goa Airport and from there to Mumbai. We stayed there for almost six hours. The big highlight was the "Live Whatsapp reporting" from Holger (mediated by Nele) about the promotion game of the first men. Holger himself was on the way to Darjeeling with Susanne, where they spent another week on vacation. So we could follow the victory of the first men live while we tormented our way through the security gates. Even in Mumbai at the airport we got goose bumps with the video with the decisive seven meter. Then night flight from Mumbai to Zurich, in the morning connecting flight to Hamburg and from there by taxi back to the club. We arrived there around 10 a.m. tired from the long journey. Off to bed.

What can one draw as a conclusion of this trip?
It was an exciting trip in every sense of the word and, in the truest sense of the word, impressive. As Justus said so beautifully: This travel package that Avan, Anne, Holger and Alex put together for us is not available from any tour operator and, by the way, would actually be priceless. We experienced first hand a country full of contrasts, with a huge gap between rich and poor. We experienced the noise and hectic pace of the big cities of Mumbai and Pune and were amazed at how traffic can somehow function - albeit sometimes very slowly - despite the lifting of all traffic regulations. We had great experiences with the two NGOs in the country and met very impressive and committed people there. We have experienced the kindness of the Indians; some will include the india-typical shaking of the head, which can be used in almost every situation and can be interpreted in many ways, in their extended reaction repertoire (Björn had already achieved great training successes). Thanks to Avan and her family, we got an insight into the exciting world and religion of Parsis in India.

We had - which I think was a really great achievement from all of us - above all a functioning group, which is really not a matter of course with a very heterogeneous group of 2 weeks, combined with a lot of effort.

    And finally, as the icing on the cake, we had two very different hockey games, each left unbeaten and had the feeling that we had made a small contribution to international understanding. What more do you want?

    Thanks again to all the organizers, especially to Avan and her family!

    Next destinations
    We were talking about Israel, Iceland or maybe South Africa. It should be fine with me: The main thing is a little less hot, there are ball boys on the sidelines and just as tasty seagull food for me as in India!