Friday, January 30, 2009

VBS Week

Some of the girls and me.
Tekmatei and her puppet.
Firas and Albin with their puppets! Albin has the puppet's eyes on his head (he's a handful!)
The girls with their teddy bears they made.
Some of the boys and their teddy bears.
Priya, Queen, and Tekmatei with their teddy bears.
Making a marshmellow craft.
Atithya and her thumbs up for Jesus!
One of the boys showing his cross craft.
Coral craft.
Varechan and D. Wilson with their crafts.
I had an amazing time this week doing Vacation Bible School with the kids. After the first day, the kids knew what was coming each night so they were a little crazy. But it was worth seeing their faces each night. They really got involved in the stories and so many kids volunteered to show us how they memorized the Bible verse for the day or to answer questions about the Bible stories when we were finished. We did a craft each night and then on Thursday we did puppets and Friday we did stuffed teddy bears. The church, my parents, and my grandma are the main reasons we had enough crafts for each kid, so Kim and I have to thank all of them for everything! These kids had so much fun this week and I think they learned a lot too.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Continuation of the last post

On top of one of the Kumily mountains

Feeding the elephant a zuccini...can you tell I was scared of him!?

I'm proud of myself for getting this close to his huge tusks!

Washing the elephant's ear while sitting on his neck!

Elephant ride.

Sitting with the elephant...he kept moving and scaring me half to death.

A really old tree at the gaming sanctuary.

Kumily tea plantations in the early morning when the fog has filled up the valleys.

Weekend Recap

This past weekend was probably some of the most fun I've had since being in India. On Friday we went to the prayer meeting and it was great, but ridiculously long. It was running on IST (India Standard Time), meaning everything runs late and at a very "relaxed" pace. We didn't eat dinner until 9pm, which was no fun for my stomach. The food was good, but super spicy.

On Saturday we woke up early and went to Kumily. Kumily is in the mountains near the tea plantations so it was pretty chilly, which was a nice change of pace. I think I wore a sweater all morning. First, we went to the gaming sanctuary and while we didn't see any white elephants, we did see a monkey crossing the road! Then we headed to the elephant junction, where we rode an elephant for 30 minutes in the forest, fed it, and then bathed it with coconut shells. It was so much fun, although I do have to say I was a little scared of the elephant since I've been reading about tourists being killed by angry elephants in the Hindu Times newspaper lately. But I guess our elephant was pretty tame.

Today is Indian Republic Day, so there isn't much going on. This morning, Kim and I went to this little girl's house (we've been teaching her English). Her house is back in the jungle and there's a whole village back there we never knew about. Since there's not a road leading out there, I didn't even realize that people lived back there. We were playing with some of the kids and this little boy came running out with a bottle of nail polish and painted my nails. It was hilarious. My nails, and most of my fingertips, are painted silver now.

We are starting VBS week tonight at the Children's Home. I'll take a lot of pictures of the kids and try to get some up later this week.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cha Cha now ya'll

Kim and I spent the last two days at the Children's Home teaching the girls and boys how to do the Cha Cha slide. I brought my computer and hooked it up to the speakers we bought and all the kids had a great time. Even the Aunties that work at the home were joining in or standing by and laughing. The girls picked it up really easily, but the boys had a tendency to get bored halfway through and start a mosh pit by just jumping around clapping. We also handed out glow sticks and they all enjoyed running around, looking at them in the dark. Next week we are doing a VBS week. We'll teach a lesson for 30 minutes and then do some kind of craft for 30 minutes. I'm really excited about handing out all the cool stuff I brought back from home, especially the puppets and stuffable Jesus bears. This will be some of the kids first experience with stuffed animals, and they get to make them themselves!

We have a pretty exciting weekend coming up. Tomorrow we have a faculty prayer meeting and dinner at the Vice Principal's house. Saturday we are going to the gaming sanctuary. Sunday we were invited to lunch at one of our Spoken English student's houses. And Monday is Indian Republic Day, so there is no school or seminary classes. Kim and I are going to head into town to see the police parade and grab lunch. It should be interesting. I promise pictures will come soon!

Monday, January 19, 2009

A White Elephant Sighting

There's not a whole lot going on around here right now. On saturday, Kim and I taught the seminary students how to play capture the flag. Neither of us had played for years, so we probably made up a third of the rules, but it was so much fun. All the students keep asking if we can play again. I'm sure we'll end up playing this weekend. Things at the Children's Home have been going well. I showed some cartoons to the girls today. They probably watched 5 episodes of Popeye. Tomorrow I'm with the boys, so they'll get a chance to learn all about Popeye too! I think next week we're going to do a VBS week with some of the materials my church gave me. We'll do a lesson and then hand out crafts, like some hand puppets my grandma and parents sewed. They'll be really excited about that and hopefully I'll be able to get some new pictures of the kids up!

This weekend Kim and I are going to dinner at the Seminary's Vice Principal's house. Then on Saturday we'll go to the "gaming sanctuary," which is apparently this animal park where wild animals like elephants and water buffalos roam around. Someone told us they have a white elephant there. I didn't realize they actually existed!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

There's been a festival going on at the Jacobite Syrian Church down the road these past few days. They've been singing all day and night through an amplifier in the back of a pick-up truck (I should note that we can hear them without the amplifier). Since I sleep with my window open for a breeze, it hasn't been the most pleasant experience. The church has been shooting off fireworks every night around midnight and two nights ago they decided to do it at 4:30 AM also. I'm sure you can imagine what I was thinking when I woke up to that. But I think the festival is over in a few days, and then it will be back to sleep disturbed only by confused roosters and loud cows.

I've been having a lot of fun with the kids this week. Yesterday I gave 6 or 7 of the older boys some of the left-over VBS t-shirts our church had. The boys immediately stripped off the shirts they had on and put the bright green "Power Camp" shirts on. They liked them a lot. Then we all played a game with some of the 3-letter-word flashcards I got from the church. I made them put the cards together and then tell me what word they spelled and how it was spelled. The boys were really good at it! The girls didn't quite understand the concept, but I think the younger girls started to learn more toward the end. They would put the picture together and then hand it to me proudly. I also had the kids trace letters on one of the boards someone donated. They absolutely love using the dry-erase marker, so it's an easy way to get them to do educational stuff. They all pushed and shoved for their turn to draw letters. I think tomorrow I will have to bring my computer and show an Elmo video. Everyday I go they always tug at me and say, "Auntie, computer?" They also do that with stickers, and I always have to explain to them that we can't have a movie and stickers everyday! I'll try to update again later in the week.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Weekend Update

Life in India has been pretty interesting these past few days! There's been a Prison Fellowship conference going on, so I haven't had a lot of time to catch up on my sleep! But the topic is really interesting and I've met some good contacts. I've been able to see the kids a few times since being back. I gave them copies of the pictures Kim and I took with each kid and then a family photo. They loved looking at each other's pictures! They even ran around showing all the adults. I think they might have liked those best out of all the things we have done for them so far! So far I haven't had too many problems with adjusting to the weather, cold showers, or the food. In fact, Kim and I have now started eating with our hands because they won't give us silverware! I think they want us to become full Indians! They tell us everyday that we look more Indian, but I'm pretty sure they're lying because I've never met an Indian with blond hair.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Back in Town

I made it back to India this morning. The flight was really long and I am still really jet-lagged from the trip. I slept a little bit this afternoon but I feel exhausted and I'm sure I look like a walking zombie. Everyone was excited to see me and it was really nice to catch up with the seminary students. I've eaten lunch and a really spicy dinner here already and so far my stomach is doing alright... maybe I won't have to adapt to the food again! The weather isn't too bad, it's around 84 I think and it's pretty cool at night. I'm going to enjoy it for the few weeks that it's going to last because I hear February and March aren't any fun. I went and visited the children today for about 45 minutes because I promised them I'd be back on the 8th. They all ran outside to meet me and they hugged me and lead me by the hands until they seated me in a chair at the children's home. While I was home, I had thought about how nice it would be to see them again, but it was definitely better than I had imagined. Although there are moments when I wish I were home again, I'm really glad to be here.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Few Days Left

Well, I head back for India on Tuesday January 6th. I've had a really great visit at home and I'll be sad to leave, but I am excited to get back to the kids. I'm bringing back a lot of cool things for them that were donated by members of my church and some of my friends. My family also made little felt puppets for all of the kids which I know they will love!

I got 22 of the kids sponsored while I was home. There are only 4 left that are unsponsored as of now. I'm hoping to get a few more people to help out before I leave. I was really impressed with all the support I recieved while I was home. Thanks so much and I will make sure to update as soon as I get back to India, which should be sometime on Thursday next week.