Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 2 at the farm

I made the mistake of going to bed early (9pm), and am paying for it now at 1am, not being able to sleep at all. Our first full day at the farm was fantastic. We really got a better feel for the day to day activities that the children go through. Although we missed breakfast, the staff saved us a special plate.

The largest scorpion I've ever seen
The Benac tractor
While all the children at the Chennai center are disabled, most children at the farm are “normal” children whose parents can’t take care of them for one reason or another. They live at the farm, and also attend school here. The education is excellent. It is all given in English, so the children learn to speak a second language. Their native tongue is Tamil.

Wanting to help, I asked the principle what I could do. He asked which subjects I am good at, to which I answered math. He seemed excited, and took me to 9th grade where he would teach math the coming hour. He said I could watch first, and then teach. Wow! If I had known how advanced this math would be, I might have never said I was good at math! Super complicated Algebra equations that I don’t remember how to solve. It was fun though to switch on my brain, and try to follow along. Next time I say I’m good at math, I’ll make sure he understands I’m only capable of teaching the low grades.There are too many children to fit into the dining hall all at once, so they eat in shifts, girls and boys separated. Before each meal the kids stand next to their tables and recite a prayer, which is really sweet to see. I really wish my children could live and learn from these children for a few days or weeks. They never complain, and happily eat any food they are given.
Any time I walk anywhere, all the children say “sister, sister!”, and the ones who speak English will ask a a million questions. They all pull you 5 different directions and want you to follow them.
Between classes or while the other group is eating, the second group hangs out in the hallway and out front. Today, the girls were all braiding each other’s hair, and when I sat with them, some braided mine as well.
My favorite part of today was the hour before dinner. All the little girls were in their dormitory playing games and talking. When Anna and I came in, they danced and sang for us. Joe had the camera at this point, so I only got video. Oh… Anna is a girl from Utah, who is volunteering for 2 months. She is teaching art classes as extracurricular.

She has also organized an art class for the disabled group of men. These adults live on the farm, where they participate in vocational activities such as wood working and maintenance. Their creativity is amazing!
The heat is still a challenge to live with. I can’t imagine what it would be like to come here in the summer time. Our room has air conditioning, so that helps a lot at night, but during the day we are just in the heat. The school is very open and airy and with the fans in classrooms, it’s quite comfortable. However, I still just need to come to terms with the fact that I’m just sweaty and wet all day long. A little negative side effect I seem to be having is swelling of my ankles. They haven’t been this swollen since I was 8 months pregnant with Winter! Good thing my clothes cover my legs!

In the afternoon all the children gather for song singing and prayer in front of the school
Marie, the head cook told me she would be going to the local village to purchase vegetables, so Anna and I asked to tag along to do some shopping. I’ve purchased some clothing in Chennai, but those Salwar Kameez sets are sort of fancy, and I really wanted to buy a plain every-day sari. I can’t believe how cheap mine was: 180 rupees ($3.60) for the sari fabric. 150 rupees ($3) for the stitching of the blouse. 100 rupees ($2) for the under skirt. So all in all, I have a custom made sari for less than $9. The measurements for the blouse were taken by a tiny tailor shop in a little alley (hopefully I’ll still be able to wear the blouse post-pregnancy!) and will be ready for pickup tomorrow!
The village was bustling!
Most of the shops next to the main road have no side walk. Instead, they have big dirt piles often littered with trash
On a side note; I’m sort of paranoid about mosquitos and malaria, so I apply repellant at least 3 times a day. Somehow a mosquito still got me once yesterday, and I’m really praying it won’t give me malaria. The food is really great. We eat slightly different food than the children, I think they make it less spicy for us. The quantity seems low, yet it totally fills me up, and keeps me going for hours. To be safe I haven’t eaten any fruit or raw vegetables, and luckily haven’t gotten sick at all. The water here is treated by reversed osmosis, and Joe and I treat it with our little UV Steripen just to be safe, so no problem there.


Anonymous said...

Geweldig om over je ervaringen te lezen. Ook mooi om foto's te zien, hoewel die schorpioen me wel even de kriebels gaf.

Emma said...

Ik wil er ook heen!!!!!! serieus.. haha! Ik ga het zeker een keer doen!

Mom said...

What a wonderful adventure. Great job of chronicling it all. I have heard about Pathway. For years and now I can finally se it.

Wendy said...

loving your outfit!

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