in 24 hours
i love school. not the college kind, though.
Teaching in the slums has been quite the experience. I have learned as much from the kids as I feel they have learned from me. It's humbling to help foster an education and to be in an environment where students are so passionate about learning. It reminds me hugely of when I worked as an elementary ESL teacher back home in Tuscaloosa. I love it, I never want to leave.
last night, we celebrated a sweet volunteer friend's birthday at the "American" bar in sector 41. We all feasted on pizza and French fries (sue us, we miss home) and some enjoyed a few drinks. The party migrated upstairs where we collected under the canopy of the rooftop bar and watched the rain pour. Saying goodbye for the second time was hard, as they're the most incredible bunch of people I know. We're all meeting in Rishikesh this weekend, though, so that's exciting.
since it's been raining in the night, the temperatures are much cooler (read: 80 degrees), so sleep has been incredible. I have slept better these past few days than the last two weeks combined. Last night i didn't even wake up once in the middle of the night. Maybe teaching is just exhausting (kudos to you momma), maybe I'm learning to handle india better each day.
in the morning, Mamta sets out bread and jam and one of the four of us volunteers usually brings down a fruit market purchase to share with the group. This morning it was the tastiest two mangos I've ever tried. Semi-serious question: how much trouble would i get in with u.s. customs if i brought home a few pounds worth of fruit? There's a large chance it'd be worth the trouble.. oops.
It's a ten minute walk from home to the school. Mamta leads the four of us (Bri, Rebecca, Ethan, and me) to the apartment where they rent out a room for class. This is where the school is held. The families that live here cannot afford to send their kids to school for the most part, and many of the mothers are 18 years old (or younger) as they were married at 13. The Sandesh school is free for all students, and is often the only education these kids receive.
I teach twice a day, once from 10-12, and again from 4-6. I work with the older children who are educated in classes equivalent of 3rd to 5th grades. The morning class is much more advanced than the afternoon class. They're in the Sandesh school as a supplement to what they're learning in school. My afternoon class is much less educated as they're unable to afford school, so these two hours per day is essentially school for them.
The street to the apartment building is lined with eager students.
"Hello Ma'am!", "Good morning, Ma'am!!" They greet us, thrusting out their little hands for a proper handshake. And so it goes, every morning and every afternoon. Eager students with their polite greetings- it's precious.
Half of the time we arrive to the classroom, there is a country-wide power outage, which means no light and no air. India is hot already, but a small room crammed with energetic kids is even hotter. I teach inside the classroom on a miniature white board with Bri, while Rebecca and Ethan teach outside in the hallway.
Each morning begins with a sing-along song (ask me for a performance when I come back- I'm practically reciting them in my sleep at this point). We split up into older kids and younger kids, and then focus on the daily lesson. Today, Bri and I taught punctuation.
Class ends with another round of formal handshakes and "goodbye ma'ams", and the five of us make the journey back home.
Home life is also unbelievably wonderful. I have gotten so close to Mamta and her family. Nani (Mamta's mother) is every bit as crazy as I initially pinned her as, but I love her nonetheless. Her rapid One-way conversations haven't gotten any better. The twins, Vansh and Varun, are my little nugs.
Tonight, the boys accompanied me to the grocery store. Since I arrived on Monday, they've been quite adamant about trying an American dessert- which obviously didn't take too much convincing, lucky for them. We set out with the intention of making Oreo balls- surprise, India doesn't have cream cheese (#india)- so we came back with the ingredients for my spontaneous recipe for Reese's bars. Believe it or not, they were so good. Like, the twins ate half of the tray good. "20 out of 10" good, according to Vansh.