Saturday, January 16, 2010

India Update 3

We’ve been very busy since I last posted. We changed hotels to be closer to the villages we will be visiting and this one does not have internet so I don’t know how many more times I will be able to post.

On Wednesday we went and visited another village, ever further into the countryside. This visit was a lot of fun. Some of the girls from the village sang songs for us and then several members of the village did dances. Some of the village girls even taught the girls in our group how to do some of their dances. There are so many little cultural things you learn to really enjoy about these people and I will miss them when I get back to the states. In the states we nod our heads to say yes, here in India, the motion for yes is a side-to-side movement of the head. It’s hard to explain but it’s very fluid. The best is when you ask a little boy or girl if you can take their picture and the give you the yes motion accompanied by a big white smile. It’s very heart warming.

After our visit with the village we went and met with a very wealthy Hindu man who has been so touched by the work that Vijay and Faceless is doing that he has donated land in which to build a school and/or church. Over here, land is very very expensive so the fact that he’s willing to donate some is a very big gesture. The land is even more valuable because it has immediate access to a road. Vijay and Prem (our guide and his son) hope to build a free school here to help benefit the people of the villages. While we were in the rich man’s mansion drinking tea he brought in his grandson and I had a chance to hold him for a while. I will admit that, while he was very cute, the fact that he was not wearing a diaper made me a little afraid he was going to pee on me (or worse). Luckily this did not happen.

Yesterday was filled with a lot of new experiences. We started out visiting a family in the city. One of the girls, who we have not met yet, was a victim of human trafficking. We did meet the girl’s sister and the girl’s baby though and today we should be meeting her and her father, who unfortunately is on his deathbed in the hospital. Though we only visited one little block, the entire city was preparing for their carnival to celebrate the New Year. Music was blaring from one of the houses and we played with some of the children and shook a lot of hands. From there we went to a school where we would be painting. The schoolhouse was actually the former home of our guides, and they donated it for the school. The painting here is much different than back home. The paint is watery and the paintbrushes are constructed of a bunch of dried grass tied at one end. Needless to say we did not feel very effective in our painting. It seemed to just slop on the walls and was not consistent at all. Though we didn’t think we were doing a good job, Vijay and Prem said it looked great. Hopefully the school kids will feel the same.

After a long day of painting we jumped back in the vehicles and went to a tourist attraction on top of a mountain that over looked Vizag and the Bay of Bengal. It was a very beautiful sight. After some ice cream on top of the mountain we headed back down and drove through the fishing area where fish are processed. In India, when the fish are caught, they spread some of the fish out all over the ground so that they can dry. As you can imagine, the smell was… interesting. When we got to one of the docking areas we got into a boat and went a ways out into the Bay of Bengal. I thought it was great but some of other members of the group who are prone to seasickness did not feel the same. When we were done with this we headed back to Vijay’s house to celebrate the Indian New Year on his roof while watching the festivities below.

Overall, I don’t think there is a better way to experience India. I really feel like we’ve had the opportunity to see real life and not some false reality derived for tourists.

I have a lot of thoughts that I’ve tried to put down but haven’t had enough time to process yet. I’m going to save those for a future blog when I’ve had plenty of time to think them out. All I know is that I have a new perspective on the world or at least this part of the world that I never would have discovered sitting at home watching Nat Geo.

A few more of my observations:

The ONLY way to experience the Indian countryside is on the back of a motorcycle.

I much prefer the dancing in India as compared to the dancing in the states. Everybody seems to be able to do it well (at least from my observation) and it’s just very fluid and very elegant.

Here they make their coffee with hot milk instead of water. I don’t know if its because I miss the coffee in the states, or if it’s just that good, but instant coffee mixed with milk over here tastes just as good as a Starbucks latte. They also eat cereal with hot milk.

I think the thing I miss the most is my bed. I’ve been sleeping fine but the hotel beds are pretty stiff; essentially a 3-inch mattress on top of plywood.

If I ever build a house it’s going to be Indian style, with a garden roof you can walk up on and have parties. I would spend most of my time up there too.

1 comment:

Lara said...

We appreciate and enjoy your blog. We are praying for you and the group. Tell Natalie we love her and said Hi!