We’ve been visiting a Day Care/Community Center close by every morning. 3-6 year olds come and we lead them in songs, games, and lessons in English. They’re learning numbers, letters and body parts. The center is a rudimentary building with virtually no furniture, filthy rags that serve as little sitting carpets for all on the cement floor. The kids get about an hour and fifteen minutes of our time plus government subsidized food (roasted chickpeas and rice-puffs). We wash their hands before they eat. They are all in very worn clothing, much of it mended or with zippers that don’t work anymore. Some have flip-flops and some are barefoot. They are adorable and a couple of the boys are what Gaurav describes as “cheeky”. Indeed. They are feeling more comfortable with the tall white lady, and play with me readily now and all like to show me their work. I am enjoying it, though admittedly, I find this age-group more tiring than the work we do with the older kids, which is more to my liking, really.
The third photo is taken at the Disabled School, where we’re teaching them several songs. They’re quite enthused about singing, and seem to pick up songs very well. It seems a good way to teach them English. We also had them make masks, so that’s what’s on their heads.
It IS HOT here, though the nights are beginning to cool down a little more now. I’ve actually had to encourage my hosts to prepare Indian food and ADD some spice, as they (wrongly) figured I’d be missing American food and the two brothers have become unaccustomed to spicy food with all their meals taken with the foreign volunteers they’ve worked with over the past six years!! This, of course, is funny to me.
They mine beautiful white marble in the mountains not far from here, and just down the dirt path from our house you can see huge marble blocks being delivered and transported off and on every day.
The village is very poor and dirty. Garbage is strewn everywhere. It is sad to see no community efforts to do it any different. The neighbors on our block are just beginning to discuss what can be done, but of course, the villagers just do things the way they’ve always done, and unless it was subsidized, have no money to spare for such a thing, and no context for it yet. It occurs to me we might try appealing to the women (who seem to mostly be the ones who bring their loads on their heads to dump the household garbage). Its the plastic stuff, of course, that is the problem…not the organic stuff. But, this would be an entire education campaign, and isn’t really the focus of what I’m here to do at this point. Can’t help but dream of what it could look like if there were pride in their area, and suitable alternatives made available with some adequate leadership and community cooperation.
I’m continuing to make puppets, and will try to add a few photos of the two I’ve made here. One is an aqua frog, named “Fatima”, and I’m working on a Tiger, which will be my most complicated puppet to date. It’s going to be good!!
Karen, from Canada, who’s been here years in a row, arrived last night. It’s nice to have another woman here, and we’re the same age, so that’s also nice for me. We’re getting to know each other, and she’ll be introducing me to her friends. She’s got quite a community of people she knows here, as well as in Goa, where she rents an apt. for some of her time here every year.
My mural is taking shape. I’ll include a photo of it in process, and then another when it’s all done.