Delhi, India, Day 13, 12/19/13

I did not think my placement could get any better but it did. I am going to be sad to leave, and I will miss all the people there. We leave tomorrow for Jaipur.

…but first, the carrots here are redder than those we get in the States. I have been meaning to tell you this for a while. See them in the middle of the vegetables. Everywhere you go there are vegetable sellers, not fast food shops, and not people selling junk food. My guess is if you were to conduct a study comparing people in India to people in the US you would find our population to be just as malnourished as theirs only from a different type of malnourishment. I think the people in the US would have more malnourishment in the form of missing micronutrients in their diet (those you can only get from plants) and more additives from foods in their bodies (like those that do not occur in nature and are created in a lab somewhere). LOL, give me a minute as I get off my soap box and get on to what you really want to read about. I just cannot turn my science brain off. You would never believe the amount of things I keep to myself and do not bore you with!

As we were walking to our placement, one of the girls from our noon group invited us into her house to look at photos and to see her house! I love it here!

Pinky, Alecia, and Sean in Pinky’s house

Blair, Alecia, and Pinky looking at photos, Alecia is here for 2 more weeks after we leave. I am jealous of you Alecia. Pinky’s entire family lives in a one room house. Her grandparents get the bed. There is no indoor plumbing or bathroom. We have seen men showering with a hose in the middle of the walkway several times. There is a simple kitchen area, although many people cook outside over fire rings/pits. The entire studio apartment is about 11 by 15. Eight to ten people live in it.

The second day I worked with Pinky she leaned over and whispered to me, “You are lovely and very smart.” No wonder I love her so much 🙂 One thing I haven’t mentioned is what it is like to be in a culture that respects age. The Indian culture puts a high premium on wisdom, with age comes wisdom, but you do become less beautiful. In the US it feels as if we respect beauty over age or wisdom. Here it feels that is reversed. Don’t get me wrong, beauty matters here, but I do not think it is respected on the level wisdom is, and therefore older people are more respected and thought to be beautiful not despite our wrinkles but because of them.

The teacher Jim and Alecia have been working with is Christian, Mrs. Peters. She has been trying to get me to teach the children I am working with the song Go Tell It On The Mountain. The problem is none of us in our group are religious, so none of us know the song. Mrs. Peters finally taught me the song, so I could sing it to them. Still the kids would rather have me sing Jingle Bells or We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

Jim helped these two boys prep for their general knowledge test. It is a big test they have on Friday this week.

Lunch time for the little ones at Vidya.

We had one more lady show up today. Her name was Babita. She goes to JNU, the university Dr. Ray taught at. She is studying English and hopes to become an interpreter working at the embassy. She told us she came to our group because she heard the English we were speaking in it was good.

Here is one of the women from the ladies group, also named Pinky. I asked how you can tell a Hindu woman is married. You can tell by the bangles on her wrist, the bindi (the dot on her forehead), and the sindoor (the line that starts at her hairline and goes along her scalp). There is no significance to the color of the bindi or the sindoor. The woman behind the fence watches us every day but never joins in.

I started today’s lesson with something that totally fizzled, but then had the good sense to show them the photo of Minachshee and Sandeep on Diwali (pronounced Duvalee). I told my students how I had celebrated Diwali, then we went around the circle with all of them telling us about their Diwali. When that ended, I asked each of them who was their favorite Hindu God and why. Most of the ladies liked Lord Shiva the best, but one liked Sai Baba best and one liked Durga Mata.

The boy in the middle climbed a tree and got all this honey out of a bee hive in the tree. I felt sorry for the bees wandering around on the ground.

The Cross Cultural Solutions staff like to play this game called Ludo.

Those who are not playing Ludo are watching day 2 of a 5 day cricket match between South Africa and India.

The girls and I went out for a while. I saw this place all lit up, found a latched gate, opened it with some trouble, and then went in. The girls were a little nervous, so we left as soon as I took the photo.

We had the craziest drive back ever. Patrice and I drove back with the music blaring, crazily zipping in and out of traffic. Even speeding against traffic! It was a bit insane.

Sean got sick today. Jim has been sick this week as well. In fact of our group of 7, only two of us have not been sick. Lucky me!