6,218 km: From Germany to India
Namaste, I'm Anna and an intern in the ASA program. With Mama Nuka I get to know the exciting world of India. 1 ½ months have already passed since my arrival in Ahmedabad. Here I take you with me on my journey, my impressions and experiences and my time with Mama Nuka.
How did I get to Mama Nuka?
During my master's degree, I applied to the ASA program. A program for working with an organization or company both at home and abroad in the field of sustainable economic development or development cooperation. In addition to participating in various seminars with other ASA participants, I worked for Mama Nuka in the field of sustainable textile management for 3 months in Germany and now for 3 months in India.
First stop: Germany
Before I went to India for 3 months, I worked for Mama Nuka in Germany for 3 months. I am mainly responsible for marketing activities, including Pinterest marketing, blog post writing and social media marketing. The main aim here is to make Mama Nuka products better known in the babywearing market. Mama Nuka works regularly from the home office, which means I was able to work easily and independently from my apartment in Ulm, where I had been working for my studies for some time.
Next stop: India
I had traveled alone before, but never alone to an Asian country. I was correspondingly excited the days before my departure. What would I expect, what do I have to consider, how do I behave correctly? A thousand thoughts went through my head as I boarded the plane that would take me from Frankfurt to Ahmedabad in western India. The first challenge awaited me as soon as I arrived at the airport. Organize a ride to the accommodation without cash (bringing Indian rupees into the country is forbidden). However, I quickly found super helpful people who helped me with changing money and booking an Uber. Here I experienced for the first time the warmth and helpfulness in India. I encountered this again and again in the weeks that followed in India. In Ahmedabad I lived in a homestay with a young Indian couple in a large apartment with a private room and bathroom. I was immediately welcomed very warmly, taken to wonderful places in Ahmedabad, and taken to traditional festivals and events. The accommodation was arranged for me by Mama Nuka's former intern Jana. Roommates became friends and I felt very comfortable here throughout. I also had the opportunity to experience the wonderful 9-day Navrati Dance Festival, which is celebrated especially in the state of Gujarat. For this purpose, a friend of mine equipped me with traditional clothing and jewelry and took me to the dance floors, where several hundred people were already moving in circles to loud traditional music: An amazing experience that completely immersed me in the world of Ahmedabad and that I couldn't would soon forget.
Ahmedabad itself is a huge city that blew my mind at first. Loud, chaotic and above all hot (40 degrees) were the first impressions I got. After 10 minutes of shopping, I came back to the flat and had to rest. Walking long distances, like I basically did in Germany before, was unthinkable for me here. Preferred means of transport here: A TukTuk, also known as a car, which I usually book via the Uber platform. In general, I was particularly impressed, but above all shocked by the traffic in the city. Waiting for a green light to cross the street as a pedestrian? none. Instead: Just go. Traffic rules as we know them from home do not exist. Rather, the horn is used here in particular. Come to think of it, I've probably never lived a minute in India without the horn being honked. I've gotten used to it now and lean back and relax in the TukTuk to watch the wild traffic around me on my journey. Scooters in particular have an advantage here, as they can easily wind their way through the heavy traffic. You can sometimes see a whole family of 4 or 5 people sitting on a scooter - super impressive, exciting and actually not uncommon. Even if I feel more comfortable on the road, I still wouldn't dare to drive alone.
After my first few days, I got along well in the city and mostly looked for nice cafes where I could do my work over a cold coffee. I quickly found my stores to shop in and learned how to behave outside and make my way from A to B. As a woman, I only wear long clothes here that at least cover my knees and shoulders. Most of the time, however, I also put a cloth over my head and upper body.
India is the land of textiles and fabrics. You can still find many tailors, seamstresses and weavers here today - an activity that has a very special tradition in India, for which the country is particularly well known.
In addition to my marketing activities, my tasks in Ahmedabad for Mama Nuka mainly consisted of visiting Mama Nuka's production facility and learning more about the world of natural dyeing. For me it was super exciting to take a look behind the scenes and see how a Mama Nuka baby carrier is made. I was able to experience live how a cloth is cut and sewn before it makes its way to the Mama Nuka camp in Germany. As part of a dyeing workshop, I was also able to experience how a fabric is dyed with plants, roots and flowers and learn to dye my own clothes. It was particularly interesting to see how the water that is used for dyeing can be used for watering or watering plants without any problems. All components are of natural origin, so there is no contamination of the soil.
So far I can say that not a day has gone by in India that I haven't experienced anything or gained any new impressions. As soon as I step outside, a thousand colours, smells and sounds await me. I will let you know in my next post how things will continue and what I experience during my further India time with Mama Nuka. One thing remains certain: it will certainly not be boring. stay tuned 😊