Today I'll start with a little Q & A and then I'll illustrate the adventures of our day.
Q: How is your sleep adjusting?
A: It's not yet. It's frustrating at night to lay here counting sheep, anxious because the morning hours are getting closer and closer, but I've never felt so awake in my life.
Q: How are the smells?
A: No issue at all. I've heard the horror stories about India in general, but so far so good. It's probably me that stinks so people are staying far away from me (and the kids love me anyway)!
Q: How are the sounds?
A: If you love the sound of birds chirping and children laughing, they are heavenly.
Q: How is it going to the bathroom?
A: Let's just say my thighs are getting a workout but it's surprisingly comfortable. (pictures of toilets on previous post)
Q: How many volunteers are there?
A: Right now there are a few teachers from an organization called World Teach, a volunteer coordinator, a medical coordinator and an education coordinator. Besides that there are a couple long term (a few months) volunteers and us. It's a slim crew compared to the large summer volunteer sessions, but the coordinators do an amazing job making sure things are well organized and that both the students and other volunteers max out their experience. Other than that Rising Star has a full staff with medical director, teachers, principle, house moms, cooks...you name it.
Q: What are some of the children's names?
A: I'll start with one of my favorite students from today:
There's Gopinath, Krishnaveni, Naveenhumar, Sabari, Vaishnavi, Tamilarasi, Priyadarshini, Manimaran, Hamsavarthini, Kristuraj, Vignesh, Priya, Mageshwari and more than 200 other little darlings with names just as complex. They love to quiz us to make sure we remember their names and it kills me when I can't say them. They even wear name tags during the day, but you try to slyly glance at their tag and see how easy it is to pronounce it on the fly!
Today was education day. We got to spend our time one on one with several of the students helping them read, do math and computers. It was incredible. My favorite thing about the day was watching these kids filled with so much determination. I can't imagine how hard it would be to learn English, let alone deal with some of the other inconsistencies in their lives and education, and they just don't let it stop them.
On our teaching days we get a little more dressed up - it's appropriate to wear a scarf so that we look more professional and the children know the difference between playmates and teachers.
But the scarf didn't stop them from confiscating my camera...again...
Here are some things that we aren't used to in America. I'm fascinated with watching how they utilize resources so carefully and produce very little waste.
|For the teachers (in lieu of having trash cans full of Starbucks trash)|
|Open-air study hall|
|Or just plain study in the hall|
Here are my buddies Gopith and Jaikarthick showing off the ABC's to me. (The video wouldn't download to my iPhoto so I had to import it and then film it on my phone - sorry for the quality)
And even more impressive was their spelling of vegetables...
School at Rising Star was good today.
And I think I'm in love.
And the most beautiful thing I saw today:
As Rajamanikkam and I were pointing to letters on the page together, I looked down and the message from my bracelet reminded me that it is him, and all of them here, that are making the change for me.