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Vagabond Kids: India Images and PWP (Passports with a Purpose)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

India Images and PWP (Passports with a Purpose)

I just spent an incredible week in India, one that has changed the way I think about travel. While the bulk of my travel is in 5 star hotels in part for work obligations and great corporate deals as well as a husband who can find great Internet deals with his eyes closed. When we do stay in lower end hotels, they are still clean, safe and contain the basic requirements for an overnight guest. You know those things like beds, pillows, blankets. A TV perhaps? So many in India don't even have the chance to have a place to stay the night, let alone a pillow, certainly not a luxury hotel.


Traveling around India I was blessed to have it easy. Staying in a good hotel, no scams, no hassles, very little intestinal distress. Win! But I was talking to a good friend, an Indian who himself comes from a high caste but understands and empathizes with those who have little. We were discussing the life these individuals face, the lucky ones are able to send the children to school, feed them 2 meals a day and have a ramshackled shelter to let them sleep on the floor. The not so lucky sleep on the streets.


Did you know that many people in India live on less than US$200 per year? Did you know that the "slums" in Bombay house over 60% of the cities total population of 14 million. That means that around 7 million people, roughly a little less than the entire combined city of New York, all live in substandard housing.


The India that I saw was one that was clean, planes left on time, water flowed in the hotel. And while I sat and complained that the Internet wasn't fast enough and that the cellular service on my phone was patchy, that the eggs at the hotel were runny people outside were lucky if they had a tarp pulled over a few sticks covering them from the impending Monsoon season. People outside the hotels were begging in order to feed their family, people were digging in garbage in order to eat. Not a pretty site I can assure you, but yet the modern traveler can avoid all of that and see a clean, sanitized and prettified India if you want to.

Ready for the next load

I learned about Passports with a Purpose this year when starting my blog. PWP is a group of travel bloggers who want to give something back, travel the world and show that individuals can make a difference. I wanted to be able to give a prize this year in order to help raise money for the good works they do, but my schedule this year made it difficult to figure those logistics out. But, what I can do is promote the organization, bid on some prizes and urge you all to do the same. This year PWP is partnering with LAFTI and they are building a village in India. Giving people homes, allowing them a basic standard of living that most of us would find uncomfortable and spare, but to these people in India it is a true life changing chance.


So, have you checked out the prizes? If you are in North America there are some kickin' prizes. Europe has some pretty cool prizes as well. Not in either of those continents? Well there are also books, clothing, e-prizes and of course the ability to donate without trying to win a prize.


The Vagabond Kids will be traveling with me to India this spring to see some of the cultural wonders that India has to offer. We will also be going to some of the places that tourists don't travel and seeing some of the people that organizations like LAFTI are helping.

But, now, I am going to go donate. How about you?

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