Who would have thought that someone can teach without even knowing the language of the students? They are learning more than I am about another language though I do give it a bit of effort now and then to forge further into their lovely language.
When I scan back to what prompted this journey to India this time around, I land on the dream I had last winter in which I heard Sanskrit spoken. Hindi is actually a combination of Sanskrit and Urdu, both ancient in origin, the former considered sacred, embedded with spirit.
It does have a different kind of sound to it, though most of the times I’ve heard it spoken have been during a pooja and the priests say it so fast, I don’t really get to savor it the way I’d like to.
Fortunately, we all use the same mathematical language, so I can help with their math lessons even though Ravi has to do the explanations. We start with math, and Ravi taking the lead, and then it’s my turn with the English lessons.
They are not at the level of learning to put sentences together except for a few standard statements and questions for greeting one another.
It’s simply vocabulary, verbal practice, word recognition. I do my best to turn it into a kind of game, where they’re having enough fun they don’t even realize they’re learning.
I sent an e-mail request to many of my friends to send postcards from home to share with these kids. Well…I’m already blown away to have received a bundle of about 90 cards from the Napa area! Carolyn, I think this is your doing, in your substitute classes yes??
Anyway, just today I shared some of them with the kids and I read the writing and Ravi translated. They seemed intrigued. We let them know that over the next week or so we will be writing some of our own and sending to a 4th grade class taught by a high school friend of mine.
I’m pleased with this project and think it will be particularly enriching to the local village children who are not exposed to TV, and so probably have very limited exposure to other cultures. But also, it’ll be fun for the kids in the US who have probably never received a postcard from India, and haven’t ever seen Hindi handwriting, which is wonderfully exotic.
Thanks also to Adrian and Tatiana, friends in Ashland, and I know there’ll be more coming. So a hearty thanks to everyone who is or has participated in this project. I expect there’ll be postcards arriving after I’ve left for Goa and Kerala. But that’s just fine. The work with the kids continues, and they’ll be put to good use.
So now, to my theme of Body wise and Otherwise. Last week as I bent over to hand a student a worksheet, I tweaked my back, or to be more precise, had a muscle spasm that was either the result of spinal misalignment or caused the misalignment. Okay, so imagine what its like to have sharp back pains and then to be in a car 30 min. to and from the work-site on bumpy Indian roads….Yeah, you get the picture…definitely NOT FUN!
But, lesson learned! I’ve been devoted to the work with the kids and putting my own needs on the back burner, figuring I’d spend a couple of weeks in Goa swimming and beach walking and getting my fitness back up to normal. Well…now I realize I need to be body-wise, otherwise I won’t be in adequate fitness to do much of anything. I was unable to go to school yesterday because the pain was severe enough I realized I was going to have to go see a body-work practitioner, and hope he/she could put me right again. I got a referral from a recently made contact
– ironically from Seattle who’s lived here 10 years, co-founding an animal rescue and rehabilitation center locally). Thankfully, the fellow recommended was capable, and I’m about 60-70% better. I will return for another session and hope it gets me back to 100% pain-free and with my back closer to the way it should be.
It could have happened anytime, I suppose, but its just like me to give this due thought and attention. Why now? Why this? Sacrifice may be asked for, but in my case, and in this point in time, it is a reminder to honor my own physical limitations and love self and others equally.
One of the things I hold in my heart and mind is the idea that “I am the Earth walking”. What that means to me is just that I am a piece of the earth and I get to move, and touch and relate to other bits of life; and I’m no less or more important than any other piece of life. But I do get make some choices about how I relate, and what I do while I’m in this body. I remember something I read from Women Who Run with the Wolves. I am quoting from memory, so I may not have it exact, but what i recall reading was, “The soul informs the body, but it’s also true that the body informs the soul”.
Well, my spine is out of alignment, so I’m taking this as a lesson that some of my personal choices are “out of alignment”. So my choice in response to this is to make an effort to treat my body with more respect, and pay more attention to what it needs to be healthy and hale; so that I can continue doing what my heart wants to do, which is enjoying this precious time with kids, and having a marvelous adventure out in the world!
Now as we head into Winter, I send you a couple of photos that are about beauty. The first is the sunset this evening from the roof of the house, where I like to sit at times. Sunrise is about 7am and sunset at about 5:40pm. The days still warm up nicely, the evenings are cool.
And the last two photos were taken in a shop I went in with another volunteer who was looking to buy a gift. I was overwhelmed by the vintage saris, the fabulous fabrics, skirts, bags….and also this wonderfully haphazard pile of gorgeous rolls of trim. It was a sumptuous visual feast for this artist’s eyes. Hope you enjoy too.