Today was nothing compared to yesterday.
Yesterday After four hours of Hindi Rishi picked us up at Landor where my language school is located and we started on a curvy ride down toward the market. In India all the cars run on Diesel so it was hard to really keep my head out the window like a dog but i suffered through the pain because i just couldnt pull my eyes away from the views. While Holden was getting queasy from the curves i was mesmerized not only by the skills of the taxi driver but by the views of the deep valleys and high peaks. I could see rivers in the crevasses of the mountains flowing down like huge water slides that never ended. We even passed a huge water fall that we basically drove under in order. I just stared in amazement as i watched all the water flow right off this cliff onto these orange rocks that were beaten and rounded down by the water. All the people we passed that were working on the road must have thought my behavior was pretty unusual because they all laughed as we passed. It could have also been that i was grinning ear to ear in amusement of the beauty around me. With my ipod blasting Ryan Adams, in order to hear over the car engine and the wind on my face, i thought about how lucky i am to be here and to be able to experience all this. By the time his album Demolition was 3 quarters of the way through we had arrived at out destination.
A woman in a white kurta was waiting for us on what i thought was the side of the road. Our driver stopped and we all piled out of the car. Earlier that day Rishi had told us we were going to a school and in my mind i thought it to be another school like Woodstock but man was i wrong. The woman introduced herself as Lorey and i could tell by the way she softly shook my hand the she was Very caring and truly happy to see us.
She lead us down to what she called a cowshed of a school and that is basically what it was. Maybe four rooms maybe ten by ten feet with low ceilings and finger paintings all over the walls. We went into every classroom and introduced ourselves and one by one each student introduced themselves very properly in English. Each one said "Hello brothers, my name is..., i am ...years old, i am in...grade and i live in Shanti. It seemed pretty rehearsed but never the less it was adorable and i was truly impressed at their comprehension of the english language. In the oldest class we sat down and they asked us to help them make paper cubes. I was helping a couple 10 year old boys make cubes and while he cut out the shape i helped him draw i drew him a picture of me saying Good Work in bubble letters on a scrap piece of paper. He showed it to all his friends then pocketed it and said thank you three times.
By the time the cubes were done school was about over and all the kids put on their matching backpacks and headed for the door. Lorey has had this school for about a year and a half now and has been providing these kids with education that the Government Schools in India do not have. Lorey invited us to her house in the village down the road from the school and we happily agreed. I think she could hear my stomach growing before we even showed up. Once we go to her house we ate dal and rice and lady fingers which were surprisingly good. Im not much of a vegetable eater but it was easy to eat when she so graciously prepared it for us. Her nefew was a student at her school. I belive he was 9 or so but it is hard to remember now. He taught me an Indian version of patty cake that was twenty times more difficult, plus i had no clue what he was saying. After we ate Lorey showed us around the village.
This village is known for not only being secluded but also for the corn that they hang along the balconies and from the roofs. Lorey described to us that they hang the corn up as a food storage and when they need it they pull it down crush it up and make it into flour. She says around october the sides of houses are magnificently beautiful with all the hanging corn. The children did most of the tour guiding all wanting to drag us this way and that and show us there houses. The adults in the village were sort of confused by our presents but still smiled for photos and went along doing there harvesting. They even gave us a couple horse radishes as souvenirs. We learned about the culture of the village and the different methods of cultivation that they used.
By the time our tour was complete it was almost dinner time and if we didn't make it back to Woodstock we would have a long walk to the market and back to pick up some food so we unfortunately had to say goodbye. Before we left all the children wanted to do the extreme version of patty cake with us and they also did an american song/dance about a man named joe who works in a button factory, i had never herd of it but apparently its a widely know song.
Saying goodbye to some of those kids was so hard. They kept asking when we were coming back and i dont think they knew we had just come for a visit. Either way i want to help out somehow. Lorey said anytime i come to India i can volunteer as a teacher and i plan on taking her up on that offer. The desire these kids have to have a higher education than the normal field worker is amazing. Not saying field workers are not smart but that these kids told us they wanted to be engineers and doctors and pilots. I was truly inspired. The ride home i still kept my head out the window, tongue flapping in he wind but i was no longer thinking about the views i was seeing, i was more concentrated on how i was going to contribute to making those kids dreams a reality. So much potential i see in these kids and in a lot of the people i meet in India. Potential and determination that you wont find in the states. I want to be a part of it. The school is very poor and Lorey always is looking for someway to help these children im sure if any of my readers want to donate i will do my best to send it on to her and make sure it goes toward furthering the kids education. Im sure they would appreciate it, and you never know someday they my be YOUR pilot or doctor so wouldn't you want them to have the best education possible?