Bump, Set, Spike… NO DRUMS!

How have I already been at the school for three days?! I can’t even believe it! It’s been such a blast with each of the kids, and I’ve grown to love every single one of them (even though I’m really struggling to remember names)! 

Today while we were driving up to our school, Seri, we came up to another car for the first time. Luckily, it was near the one part of the switchbacks where there was enough room for a second car to barely squeeze by. While the little car rolled by (their cars are definitely built with more mountains in mind), our driver reached out his window and shook the hand of the other man. It was something small, but it touched my heart. Our driver had so much love and respect for this man he had never met, and I absolutely adore that part of the Indian culture. 

When we got to the school, the kids were waiting for us… along with dozens of other adults I had never seen. Normally, there’s a few parents and other kids watching us on the hills, but this was way more than we had ever seen. Confused, we walked back into the single-roomed school house, starting to unpack our lessons. The principal-teacher-dude popped in and told us that, apparently, today was a ceremony for the village. We had absolutely no idea what that meant, but we weren’t allowed to teach outside today. My sunburn thanked him, but my lesson needed room to run. Good thing I’ve always been adaptive!

I went to a separate room with Maddie, which had no desks and housed all the students’ bags. I had the seven-year-olds, so I thought it would be a good chance to figure out how I needed to adjust. About 10 minutes in, the beat of drums invaded the room. The kids immediately went wild, slapping the floor to the beat and dancing in their places. Me and Maddie were crazy, trying to reign in the circus, and eventually just let them watch the courtyard through the tiny window. Turns out, today had been the day the entire village was celebrating and praising their patron nature god. They chopped down massive pine trees, climbed up bared trunks, and chanted for hours. It was so cool to listen to, but a massive pain when I was trying to teach! I had to keep begging the kids to come back from the window by saying “No drums! No drums! Clothes!” Eventually, it ended, so the lessons went a ton better.

All the little kids have decided that “Ride that Pony” is their favorite song and dance, and will beg for it towards the ends of lessons. They wave a hand like a lasso, and call “Pony!” Man, I can’t say no to them (I’m totally wrapped around their fingers) but that game is really wearing on me! Luckily, they’ve been picking up on it enough to kind of sing along, so the six of us aren’t carrying the whole game. Still, they love choosing us!

When we got back to Jibhi Camp, one of the camp owners brought out a beat-up volleyball. Heck. Yes. The twelve of us who were there ran down to the volleyball “court”, which was a slightly cleared field of rocks with two trees supporting a net. Man, it was a party! We even became the entertainment for some of the locals; seven or eight of them had stopped their lives to watch us. Even though I was absolutely ecstatic at playing again, it’s nothing compared to seeing my kids! Everyone started joining us, until we had crammed more than 18 people on the court. That mess of a game went on for a while, before a couple of the locals challenged us. We formed a team of the “elites”, which I somehow made. Out of the thirteen people playing, I was the only girl! It was intimidating being surrounded by so many tall guys, but my serve kept me a valid player. It was so fun seeing our cultures combine like that!

I love you all! Thanks for supporting me in this adventure! (Oh, and mom, for your own sanity, the next time I write is the 19th. So… I guess you’ll see it the 20th. I love you!)

Kallie Brown