Monday, September 29, 2008
After that, Kim and I headed to the Children's home where we started our first week of mini-Vacation Bible School. Every Monday we will do a different lesson from the VBS lessons we use at my church. Today we did the moral God is Real with the Bible verse, God is good to everyone. We passed out sheets with the moral on them and had them write the Bible verse. Then we did a sock puppet show with Negative Nancy (me) and Positive Peter (Kim). After we the puppet show we taught them a song and dance from the VBS cd. I think they had a lot of fun even though it was difficult for them to pick up the English in the song. We will teach it again next week with another lesson and puppet show!
Also, today at the Catholic school I was able to talk with a 26 year old faculty member. She told me all about how marriages work here in India. Even the Christians here believe in arranged marriages. Her marriage is being arranged within the next year. The parents control everything and put out ads in the newspaper and then take interviews. If they like the male, then they set up a meeting where the couple talks for 5 minutes only and then the male decides if he would like to marry her. If so, they don't see each other again until their engagement party. If the woman decides she can't go through with it, the family is shamed and it is hard for them to get over that reputation afterwards. Although the Indian culture is slowly becoming more westernized, arranged marriages are still very common. It was interesting to hear about the differences from our culture to theirs.
Please let me know if there is anything specific you want to hear about or for me to find out about!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Here is a new video. I tried to upload one that I took with my camera while we were on our way to town, but it was too big. I'll try to get one up sometime showing the driving in India. Things have been pretty good here lately. I had a rough week last week, with a migraine everyday, but it seems that maybe I got over the slump. I haven't had one in 3 days, so thanks for all your continued prayers! We were able to go into town on Saturday and I bought a white-board and Malayalum-English picture books for the Precious Children's home. This will help me to teach English a lot more effeciently. I will also start teaching English classes at a Catholic college this week. It will be on the American accent and the breakdown of sounds in our language. That should be interesting since I don't really feel qualified as a teacher. I will also be teaching at 4 other elementary schools. I will do one class a week for each school, so 5 classes in all on top of teaching at the children's home! That should keep me busy! Now here are a few things I have noticed about the Indian culture that I thought would be interesting to mention...
When an Indian person nods, they move their head from left to right exactly like an American person would if they are saying no. So I always get confused and think they are saying no when they are really saying yes!
The people here are really affectionate towards each other as a sign of friendship. Girls often hang on each other or put their hands in each other's laps. I am still trying to get used to this because in the US, this would make someone really uncomfortable. Boys also show affection by holding each other's hands or touching each other's shoulder. They aren't intimate with each other and it's completely normal here. This was a shock to see at first. But boys and girls cannot be affectionate towards each other. In fact, if a boy and girl are seen alone together, the worst is automatically assumed. That's why it is hard to get to know the guys at the seminary. Men here don't even walk on the same side of the street as women.
The mosquitos are pretty bad here but the worst thing is ants! They are everywhere and can easily invade your room. I have bites from the ants all over my legs.
The electricty goes out in the state of Kerala everynight for 30 minutes. There isn't a set time for it to go off, but the government is trying to preserve energy and shuts it off for the entire state. I have never experienced the dark like I have here!
On a more serious note, I found out today that two of the children at the orphanage lost their parents recently in Orissa. One of the boy's father was beaten to death and the other boy's parents were murdered. The supervisor told me that they are not going to tell the boys about their parents. Please continue to pray for the situation in Orissa.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
- sunset out my window
- lizard on my bathroom wall, this is good because they eat the bugs
- cultural night at the seminary where students are seperated into tribes and then do a dance or song representing their tribe
- the street in town, Kottayam
- me and a cow on the side of the road
- at the Precious Children's home
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Yesterday I got to eat a "Kerala Special," a friend banana. I found out that they have around 60 different types of bananas here! I am starting to like the food a little better. I was thinking about American food the other day and realized that I had stopped craving it so much. But that's not to say I crave rice!
Yesterday on the way to the Prison Fellowship Office we passed a funeral for some popular guy here. It was a few miles long and the cars and motorcyles had black flags and pictures of him taped to the vehicle. And the casket was carried in a huge wagon with a bunch of decorations. It was a glass casket, so that was interesting to see. Several of the cars carried speakers on them and played music as they drove.
I also saw a man riding an elephant in the middle of the street yesterday. All the cars were honking and passing it. It was chained up and looked pretty pitiful. I didn't have my camera unfortunetly!
I also wanted to note that I have seen 4 people riding on a single person motorcycle. It's crazy how they fit so many people on it! And Dr. Chacko made a comment yesterday about how in India you don't need brakes, you just need a horn. This is pretty much true because they use the horn here to let you know they are passing you or coming up on a corner. No one really slows down, they just go faster.
There was a scorpion outside of our room the other day. It was huge and some guy down the hall caught it and was playing with it, which baffles me. I just keep telling myself that nothing is going to get in my room!
I also wanted to mention that Christians here need a lot of prayer. I am not sure if US News is reporting it, but there has been a lot of persecution of Christians in neighboring states, especially Orissa (which is in the Northeast part of India). There are some kids at the orphanage and seminary that haven't heard from their parents who live there because all the Christians are having to hide in fields from the Hindu people. I don't know the whole story, but a Hindu man was killed and for some reason the authorities blamed a Christian man, which seems to be false at this point. A couple of churches in states around us have been burned as a result. There's no need to worry about Kerala though because this state is around 70% Christian and there isn't really persecution for us here.
I am introduced at the Catholic school tomorrow as the new English teacher. I will write later to let you know how that is going!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Yesterday, someone down the street from the seminary got married and there was a big parade in the street with lots of music. The couple was carried in some sort of wagon. We all watched from our balconies.
Unfortunately, I have gotten a migraine everyday for the past 3 days. They haven't been too bad, but they are still discouraging. It's been really hot here so that is probably why I get them. I feel fine so far today, so hopefully I won't get one!
Friday, September 12, 2008
Sorry I haven't updated in awhile. There has been no internet for a few days. It has finally started to weigh on me these past few days that I will be living here for awhile, and even though it really isn't that long, I have had a difficult time adjusting to the culture shock. I am getting used to the food, but the way that people spend their time here is very different. People take multiple naps and generally have nothing to do for hours on end. It is these hours that I start thinking about America and missing home! Next week I will start teaching English in a Catholic College. They have a textbook that I can base my lessons off of, so it shouldn't be too difficult. I am excited about having something to do! Also, today was the festival of Onam. The legend is that a king used to come here every year on this day and the town would fancy itself up and live in a prosperous state for the weekend. Everything is closed and there is no school and there is a huge feast with 90 different helpings. We had a feast yesterday with 12 different helpings. It is served on banana leaves and we had to eat with our fingers, even the liquid dessert! It wasn't as bad as I expected though and the desert was made with sugar cane and coconut so it was amazing. Tonight they served us whole fish with the head and tails still on. It wasn't bad as long as you didn't look at it, but it was definetly hot! I will try to update soon about how teaching is going!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Over the weekend, I had this idea about meeting with one child for 30 minutes each day until I met with all of them (there are 148). But I was really hesitant to bring it up with the director at the home because I was afraid he would say it was a bad idea since some children can't speak English. I got up the courage and mentioned it to him and he loved it! Today I met with Tekmatei, a 10 year old girl who speaks almost fluent English. She is quickly becoming my favorite person to be around! I wasn't sure what we would do for 30 minutes but we went to a quiet place alone and she just began talking. I didn't even say a word for the whole 30 minutes except to nod and pray for her at the end. It was such a blessing to feel like I was really helping her and she was excited to be with me. Tomorrow I meet with another young girl, so hopefully that will go as well as today did!
Kim and I begin teaching English classes to the seminary students tomorrow. We will be starting with nouns and then having the students write a conversational paragraph and analyze mistakes that they may have made. I'll write soon about how it is going!
Also, if anyone is planning on sending something over here, we have come up with a few minor things the kids need. We need about 90 glow stick bracelets. We have 60 but we don't want to only give a few kids some. The seminary students could use iron supplements because they are not served any meat here. We could aslo use plastic string like the kind used for making keychains or bracelets for the kids. Also, any sort of paper, coloring books, crayons, markers, small toys, etc. would be helpful for the afternoons with the kids.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
We weren't able to go to the wedding today because I was still feeling very weak and Kim was worried about the car ride also. The other day we went into town, about 15 minutes away, and we both got car sick. The roads are very bumpy and the cars constantly stop and go, considering that they are swerving in and out of traffic, often driving on the shoulder to avoid a collision. Looking out the window doesn't help car sickness because you just see how close you are to hitting a bus and then you get even more sick! I have learned to trust the person driving and the people walking on the side of the road. If they live in India, they must be used to the roads and know what they are doing, right? Haha
Friday, September 5, 2008
- hot water/showers
- air conditioning
- cleaning supplies
- any food that is not rice
- washer and dryer
- purified water
- easy travel across the country (i.e. we don't get stopped by the police and asked for our passport)
- hospital within 5 minutes distance
- the right to chose our own husband and wife
- supermarkets or a mall in general
- cleanly standards of food and household
- no loud cows or roosters
- Coca Cola (there is no diet coke here either)
- Beef in general
- Chocolate and items that melt in daily India climate
- the ability to wear make-up without it sliding off your face in 30 minutes
- Hair that is not frizzy due to humidity
That's all I can think of right now, but some of those are funny and very true!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
The children have started to open up to us. They love having their pictures taken and then looking at them afterwards. They looked at pictures of my family for about an hour. They play lots of hand games because there are no materials for them to work with. They have no crayons, scratch paper, cards, toys, children’s books…nothing that American children take advantage of. They are able to play soccer and cricket. Other than that, they merely entertain themselves with jokes and hiding games. I have noticed that several of the children are sick or have lice. I am not sure if they are treated for anything at the moment.
Today is the start of the youth conference for India Baptists. It is being held here at the seminary. It goes on for the whole week, so no one attends classes. Kim and I were able to walk down the street this morning and buy tapioca potato chips and cream cookies at a stand. After we came back I tried to take a nap but the cow in the backyard was mooing. I never knew they were so loud!