Delhi day 4, 12/11/13

Every day we are here, we are more inspired. Very few Americans, in my experience, understand tolerance and acceptance with the depth and breadth that most Indians seem to. Because of this there is a focus on social activism that I haven’t experienced much in the States. Sean wants to move here. It is the first vacation where he isn’t talking about how much he misses Jezabel, his pug. I told Sean he cannot move here until he finishes college, and then it is all up to him anyway. He loves working with the kids, especially the littlest ones.

We are loving it, with a caveat, Jim has Delhi Belly. That is what they call the stomach flu most people get in their first week of staying in Delhi. Married to a woman who can eat unwashed leaves and laugh it off, ah the inequities of life! Poor guy, he can now say he threw up in a slum in India.

Sean and I started our day at the Vidya school. I taught a lesson about nutrition, right up my alley. Sean was asked to teach math. His least favorite subject. He was doing okay until he asked the kids to calculate 0/3 which has no solution, oops.

Sean said, “Mom, two of the girls would rather do math than play tag.” I hate to tell him, but that was me as a little girl. How could my son not love math more?

I am really proud of how Sean is handling himself. I am not the only one either. The director of the program, Bella, told him she is very impressed with him. She said that many kids who come with their parents spend their time complaining and comparing India to the US, instead of appreciating India for itself. Sean was invited to participate in a teen project for teens 15 to 18 held in Dharamsala, India in the summer.

Today they are playing freeze tag.

This is what Sean has been waiting for! He loves working with these little ones so much.

Here Jim and I are with Dr. Rekha Chaturvedi. I have met three women in three days who make me feel inspired to think harder about making a difference on this small planet we live on. Rekha told me the crèche program, the program that gets the little ones in, was started by her many years ago. I was told later that Rekha is a very powerful woman in the slums and with community service advocacy in Delhi. The children in the crèche have mothers who work. Before the crèche they were left at home on their own or with slightly older siblings. They were not getting the love, care, or food that they needed. She and other workers went through the slum communities talking to parents and convincing them to leave their little ones at the crèche where they would receive food, attention, and love. Once these children graduate they are not abandoned by the program. There is a network of programs that help them all the way through to graduate studies if they make it that far. Sean wants to spend the entire time we are in Delhi volunteering, not traveling. The two women working in the crèche were both success stories coming out of these programs. At the end of the last two days none of us in our group want to leave and go back to the CCS office. Hopefully tomorrow we will be able to stay later and go help at a computer center for older kids.

Here is a link if you want to learn more about the work Rekha and her colleagues are doing.

http://vidya-india.org/community-delhi.htm

I commented on how welcoming everyone in the slums is. Rheka told me when they started bringing volunteers in, the people asked her what they were doing there. The slum dwellers thought we might be coming in to laugh at them because they have so little. She assured them we were there because we love all people and want to help all of them to have a better life. Yep, that sums me up!

I bought myself a sari in my favorite color. I have my eye on another one too. I just have to see if I can figure out how to put this one on well enough to ever wear it. This is the sari before the piece has been cut off to make the blouse. I also had to have a petticoat made to hold the fold up.

We had to take the sari to a tailor shop. I was given careful instructions about where to go. Do you think I ended up at the right shop? Everyone who knows me knows the answer to that question! Jim has never been able to figure out how someone so good in math and science has no sense of direction. I hope this tailor does a good job. We will know the answer in two days.

Oh my, when did I get all those wrinkles 🙂 it beats the alternative though. The tailor is helping me choose petticoat fabric to match the sari. Look at all the bolts. There are more behind the door at the back.

Here is a little temple to Ganesh beside a tree.

Alecia and I took a yoga class.

Then we went to an open air artisans’ market. This fellow is from Kashmir; his name is Sarfaraz Ashraf. Jim and I now have a family in Kashmir to visit if we ever go there. They live between two lakes. We are now Facebook friends, so if any of you have questions about Kashmir, you can ask them. Seriously.