Saturday, June 25, 2016

Notes from Joan continued...

Friday was a really good day at the school. Megan and I spent the day working in classes with teachers on the techniques and strategies we had shared at the workshop the day before. The rest of the team spent time with the girls in the classrooms as well. The girls really really love Sonia. The teachers and students both seemed receptive and excited to the ideas that we were sharing.

After school we got to participate and see some of their afterschool program. This is an enrichment opportunity for students in class 6 through class 12. They do different activities on different days. Monday is always dance but they do sports, music and other activities on other days. It is voluntary but most of the girls stay. We spent about an hour with the seventh through 12th graders in their music class. They sang for us, we taught them Take Me Out to the Ball Game, and we got to learn a little bit about the Indian music system that the teacher was instructing about. Afterwards we went to see the sports program. They were playing dodge ball, but because it was so hot they were using soaked sponges instead of regular balls. Some of us got to participate which was great fun. Afterwards we watched them play a very traditional Indian game called Kabaddi. If you want to know more about it click on the link which explains about that game.

Today, Saturday, was a tougher day emotionally. We spend the day going around Kolkata and seeing different sites. We had a great tour guide to help us. We started off at the Missionaries of Charity's Mother House which is where mother Theresa lift and actually died also. Her tomb is there and we got to see that which was moving. Then we went to the Missionaries of Charity's Orphanage and after that we went to the hospice. The hospice was particularly heartbreaking especially when we found out that some of the women there who are former prostitutes who had been thrown out when they got to old. The sisters and volunteers that work with the orphans and dying are amazing. We also saw two important temples for Hindus and Jains and the pottery center where thousands of life size and smaller images are made for Hindu religious celebrations every year. The process is quite interesting. In addition we saw colonial British buildings are visited the gardens of the Queen Victoria Memorial. Towards the end of the day we went to the Ganges River which is an important and holy river for Hindus. 

Along the way we saw some extreme poverty and extreme opulence. From the dying in the hospice, the orphan child who was recovering from emaciation, and the woman living in basically a "shack" made of bamboo poles, plastic and other pieces of garbage to the Jain temple with incredible mosaics and jewels and amazing Victoria Memorial, it gave us a lot to think and reflect upon. 

We've done pretty well with the humidity and heat. One of us has had some stomach issues but is doing better this evening. 

Thank you for your prayers. We really do feel them. Please pray for continued protection and health especially from stomach problems and also the heat and for safe travel on the roads.

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