A non-internet life

Hi All,
(The internet has been out for five days so try to imagine the following 5 days ago)

So much has happened that I feel somewhat prepared to go home, somewhat. We got a warden who is amazing with the girls. Her name is Nisha and she is from the local area and she is quite educated. I find her to be the exact in between of Raj and me: she’s fun and corky like me yet strict and hard working like Raj (I’m hard working too). Every night she reads a children’s book to the girls in English and then in Hindi and during the story the girls have to write down ten words in English that are new. There’s a lot of stuff these girls need to learn in and outside the home and Nisha is perfect in teaching them these things. The girls are finally getting a good mix of Hindi and English (Hindish) and learning local customs at the same time. Nisha’s GREAT!

I guess with Nisha in as the warden there’s little for me to do…

Things are winding down and it feels like things are finally set in place. Most of the construction work is finished. The septic tank we are putting in the local school is almost finished too and the dining hall FINALLY has curtains! Life here is a bit slower if you hadn’t guessed!

My biggest job right now is to get things set up for the next round of interns who come here. They’ll have to do some teaching too, especially in the schools, and these schools need help! Next to the lack of classroom necessities, the schools are teaching the wrong stuff! Take the color purple for instance, they teach the students to call it black. Or think about how YOU learned primary and secondary colors (with fun little painting projects of mixing the colors) here it is given in a formula in a book that has to be memorized (red + yellow= orange), no fun at all.

Raj and I have had some “beef” with the principal at the high school here. The principal is just not willing to cooperate with us on some issues. So, Raj and I went to the Deputy Director (DD) of the school board (I’m not sure of the equivalent title in the USA but for now we can say it’s the same as president of the United States). Everyone respects this man, I mean everyone! If he passed gas, people would breathe it in. The DD loves the work we are doing at the ashram so he automatically sided with us and called the principal and put him straight! I think the principal felt like a 10 year old boy after that call. I think I would even be ok with the DD’s gas!

Since this last Saturday was the last Saturday for me with the girls, I invited them all to come and have one massive sleepover! It was a BALL! We watched movies, we danced and I beat the living daylight out of them with pillows! The only problem I had was that after the girls left in the morning, I found all of Sarojani’s “pocket toys” all over the bed; it was a combination of a half eaten carrot, a broken rubrix cube and a neon thingamajig. This girl cracks me up! Poonam also complained of sleeping next to Anju, supposedly Anju sneezes in her sleep and one landed in Poonam’s ear!

Since the girls are doing such a good job of taking care of themselves and others, I found it very necessary to give them more responsibility: a puppy. That’s right, a puppy. We found a puppy in the farm house next door and we somewhat “stole” it, technically it just followed us and then we decided to keep it. The sole purpose of this puppy is for the girls to learn responsibility not because I want a puppy or anything (a common misconception). The girls decided his name too: Happy.

Oh by the way, I caught an amoeba. A living thing is living inside of me, it must have been from that hot spring I went to. So I went to the doctor. The first doctor’s office I went to was closed; ironically he was attending someone’s funeral that day (doesn’t that just send the wrong message: a doctor at a funeral?). The next doctor did a good check up on me and gave me medicine. But the visit was no piece of cake, do you know how embarrassing it is to have your stool action and feminine problems translated to the doctor? I’m sure you don’t know, let me tell you, it is awful! I can’t even look at Raj anymore! It was a very awkward drive home after that…