Jordan Barnes - Young Leaders 2016

India Travel

Our first official day kicked off with a yummy breakfast (a standard here in in India) our gorgeous hosts just kept cooking and cooking! Before we knew it, it was time for our first session as part of the leadership tour...the subject was on...LEADERSHIP! (Crazy coincidence right??).

We set ourselves up on the rooftop terrace and started to brainstorm...what makes a leader a leader? What qualities do they possess? How do they put in place those qualities? The brainstorming was the easy bit, picking the top ten qualities not so much, as a group we had created a superhuman leader...oops!

After many discussions, we managed to connect most of the qualities with others, which led to making a decision on the top ten without leaving many out! Everyone sees leadership differently, so to discuss it in an open group was, to say the least, enlightening. And for everyone at the end to take something away or have a seed planted in our minds was rather special.

Our next item on the agenda was an excursion to Sanjay Colony - a slum located in Okhla, South Delhi. You see poverty everywhere in Delhi, but the Sanjay Colony is an illegal area where all the poor have built a city of their own. It's stunning, terrible, but stunning. We were introduced to our guide Ravi, from reality tours, who would escort us through the slums.

India Slum

Over the next few hours we walked through many different scenes, women sitting in small groups all spaced down the cobbled street, surrounded by large white plastic bags filled with all sort of material scraps, but if that wasn't a sight enough, here they were, sitting cross-legged on the ground, sorting out the materials one bag for at a time. Black material from the white, the patterned from the plain, and different kind of fabrics too. 100-150 white bags are dumped for them to sort out a day. These leftovers once sorted, will be sold to other factories, some to become thread or to be recycled into other items. Insane. As we continued walking we were amazed that the structures, people's homes, were still standing upright, so poorly built were they that having a certain number of people on each floor would surely bring them tumbling down. And yet not once did we find anyone unhappy, the people that live in that particular slum have literally built a community together, a community rarely seen these days.

To finish of the tour, we went on to the roof of one of the buildings, that gave us a 360 view of the slums, and words cannot describe it. Everything on top of each other, Brick and mud buildings, looking ready to collapse any minute. Our guide then gave us an insight on what programs they run in the slum to give kids and teenagers, in particular, skills that will come in handy and that are a necessity for employment. It was an incredibly enlightening experience and I very much look forward to day 2 and the rest of the trip; today has sparked something inside of me and I cannot wait to share it with the team.

Signing off!