August 3rd, 2012
India does not want you to visit.
Okay, it probably does, but it sure doesn’t seem like it when you’re applying for a visa. There are more than ten different kinds of Indian visas, and if you show up with the wrong one, you’ll get sent back. Once you find the right one, you have to do fun activities like filling out really long forms, taking pictures of your newly-filled forms, taking pictures of your passport, taking pictures of yourself, proving you’re who you say you are, proving you live where you live, proving you’re going to India to fix bikes, getting your host organization to write a letter saying you’re going to fix bikes… you get the point.
Oh, and there’s fees. So many fees. Step 23 is all about fees (step 24 is “Mail it in and celebrate”).
I chose the countries I chose because I hope to make an impact there. It so happens that Zambia offers a point-of-entry visa renewable for 90 days and that Guatemala requires no visa for stays of less than 90 days. India is the tricky one.
But — as is becoming my motto — bikes shall be fixed.
So, that’s about where I am. I’ve done some door to door with limited success. A very gracious donor gave $250 (thanks!) but that’s it, despite hours of knock-knocking on doors and ring-ringing of doorbells. 70% of those doors don’t open, and 95% of the ones that do shut again after the syllable “fund.” Even without that syllable… it’s like they know.
Worst case scenario, I get to go to India, and I foot the rest of Guatemala or Zambia on my own. Admittedly, it’s a pretty good worst case scenario. All the same, it would be nice if the rest of the project would pan out. If you haven’t donated or asked your friends and family to donate, I’d really appreciate it if you would.
On another note, I’m about to take off on a cross-country trip. I don’t want to mix that trip with this one, so I’ve started another blog, hellofromtacoma.blogspot.com. That’s where most of my time will be spent for the next three months. When I get back to MN, I’ll be fundraising again, sending in my visa application, and in general getting ready to go to India.
All for now. Ta ta!
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