Sarees, Stares and Sticky Hands: India Adventures Continued
Rachel, Chelsea and I are midway through our third week at Asha Kiran Special Needs School and we’re all starting to feel comfortable with our life here in Bangalore. Every morning we get up around 6:30 to eat breakfast before going to school. We take a thirty-minute bus ride through the bustling streets of Bangalore before arriving at Asha Kiran. At school, Chelsea continues to work closely with a classroom of energetic 6 to 10 year old boys…and lets just say there’s never a dull moment in her classroom. For the past week I have been using the Rosetta Stone computer program to work one-on-one with students who need extra help learning English. I have also been helping out in other classrooms throughout the day and doing odd jobs for Rita. Rachel has spent her time split between two classrooms, helping students stay on task and doing small jobs for teachers. We’re all starting to get to know the staff and have made a few friends among the teachers.
Indian Independence Day is on August 15th and the students have started preparing for a celebration they will have next month. They are all working on dances, songs and skits, which they are excited to perform for their parents at the celebration.
This week we attended a Christian wedding and finally had an opportunity to wear our saris! Rita Auntie helped us put them on. After thoroughly documenting the moment with pictures, we waddled to the car and attempted to get in gracefully (fail). We quickly learned that saris are not easy to walk in…or breathe in. After the wedding ceremony we went to the reception where there were about 700-800 guests. The couple sat on an elaborately decorated stage where they stayed most of the ceremony. At an Indian wedding it is traditional for the couple to stay on the stage while all of the guests wait their turn in line to greet them.
Last weekend we took a day trip to Mysore, a historic part of Southern India. We visited a palace, a few temples and ended the day with a lights show at a beautiful garden near a lake. The day was fun but also exhausting. Despite the best efforts of our mullet-sporting tour guide, we managed to remain utterly confused about where to go, what time to get back to the bus, and where to put our shoes when entering the temples. We thought we had grown accustomed to people staring at us in India, but in Mysore it was a different story. We experienced more stares and whispers than usual and quite a few people asked to take their picture with Chelsea.
Our time in India has been flying by, but we still have so much to look forward to. Thanks to everyone for your continued encouragement and prayers.
Claire, Chelsea and Rachel
Memorable Quotes thus far:
“You guys…I think I just got peed on.”
Student: “What is your name?”
Student pointing to Rachel, Claire and Chelsea as they stand in a line: “Rachel, Square, Chelsea”
Wear our sarees: CHECK. Attend an Indian wedding: CHECK. Visit a temple/palace: CHECK. Learn Indian national anthem…semi-CHECK.