This week has had its fair share of ups and downs….actually there have been more downs than ups to be honest. Since arriving to Hyderabad I’ve battled not having a mattress, water, a toilet, a wardrobe for clothes, a phone, and last but almost most important in our world today… internet! Settling in has been a nightmare but I’m slowly but surely building my perfect room that will provide calm from the chaos. In the meantime I will continue to share my chaos with you all.
So back to the part about no wardrobe for my clothes. This was one of my many to do’s that needed to be accomplished since I’ve been living out of a suitcase. My program manager gave me 2500 rupees ($ 56.00 USD which was shady because you can’t even find a dresser for 50.00 at IKEA) and tells me I can find something in an area called Nampally. Quick background on Nampally. The area is known as a suburb of Hyderabad and in my opinion is Muslim as hell with little to no foreign visitors. So here I am with two other male IDEX fellows’ one black and one clearly foreign with white skin and ginger red hair. We fit right in with the women in black burkas and men with long beards with our jeans and my braids (the real give-away). We decide to split for five minutes so the guys could get keys made and I could find a wardrobe. Somehow we didn’t find each other in five minutes so I searched for them at every key story with no sign. I finally decided to continue looking for the wardrobe because I had already invested in the auto ride and refused to come this far to leave empty handed.
I go to store after store and find the same in each one…steal lockers! Some look like wood on the outside but it was just for decoration because on the inside it was also steel! Now, just in case anyone is wondering why this means so much to me to have a wooden wardrobe let me help you understand.
1. As Oprah says “your home is your salvation” and who wants their salvation to be tacky?!
2. My roommates who pay 2,000 rupees less than me have huge Mahogany wood wardrobes with cute little shelves to organize and a mirror! So I felt like I deserved the same .Does this make me a brat, maybe a little, but so what?
Now back to the story….As I wander from store to store it becomes darker and I’m walking deeper into Nampally. Men are beginning to direct me to dark alleyways to find my treasured wardrobe and this is when I start to feel uncomfortable. As I walk down a small dark street I start to think “what if this man told me to come down here and he paged his friend to meet me and rob me!” now this may sound crazy but after looking back and seeing the man on the phone while yelling for me to keep going it didn’t sound too far off to me. I turn around because I didn’t want to be the dumb person in the horror movie that goes towards danger when it’s so obvious you should turn around!
At this point I’m almost about to freak out because more men are looking at me and pointing and speaking in Hindi. Some start to follow me but not for long, so I calm down and decide it’s time to go home. I began to walk around to find an auto when I hear someone say “Hey”. I don’t stop walking, because it’s normal for Indians to say “hey” or “hello” to someone they think is American. However something makes me look back, and that’s when I see what was THE most comforting thing in 3 hours. Little locks and dark skin. A BLACK MAN!
To make this long story short, he saved me and made sure I got home safely. He happened to be a Nigerian named Jango and even introduced me to a Nigerian church in my community! I haven’t visited yet but of course you all will get all the details. So I made it home without being robbed but I also went home empty handed, and of course that means my journey was not over….. read part two for more on the madness!