the rest of my weekend

I’ll begin with the bus ride home and see how far I get again tonight. I’m still exhausted, but happy to report that I slept the whole night through, despite the 85 degrees my thermometer read. On the way back home I decided to take the Shivneri bus, it’s a government run bus that’s supposed to be pretty good on timing. I got to Dadar, waited on a long line only to find out that the AC bus was sold out. Like many other passengers I rushed to see what my next option was and then took it, a non AC bus. As long as there was wind blowing, the heat didn’t seem too bad. It took longer than usual to get out of the station, get everyone to pay their fare, and then to start the slow journey out of the city. We didn’t get very far when the driver slowed down and we stopped for a good 20 minutes before we turned around and headed back to the station. Apparently there was a gear box problem. After waiting another 15 minutes, we got on another bus and as we’re turning to go out of the station area we hit a gate type thing. We scratch by (after shaking the gate and putting a big dent in it) and again trekked out of the city. I quickly dosed off and when I woke up it was dark. I thought we were much further along than we were. In total the trip took about six hours. Next week I might opt for a hot train ride instead of that. Ugh. I was rescued by my friend who I was sending text messages to throughout the journey who took me to Subways for a aloo patty sub and a coke. I really needed that!
So moving away from transportation issues, I had a lovely weekend with my friends in Mumbai. We’ve relocated our post class eatery, this week we went to a different place. I can’t remember it’s name, but it’s somewhere in Bandra. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was the only female in there. It didn’t bother my friends, or me, or the people serving me. I got a little more than the usual staring, but that could also be because I’m a foreigner. The food was amazing, I was made to eat “like a man” and promptly passed out when I got to Baba’s house.
Sunday was, of course, amazing, with the Dharavi kids. I hadn’t been there for two weeks, since Erin and Noemi were here. It felt good to be back. The kids all greeted me with high fives and “Good Morning Ana Didi.” Sohail asked Rajan “Ana didi ka naam kya hei?” (What is Ana didi’s name?) and Rajan responded Preeti. Apparently the kids renamed me. This was done a few weeks ago by Rajan. Preeti is a pretty common girl’s name here. Vino, the small kid who doesn’t speak didn’t participate in capoeira this week. He usually only does about half the class, picking and choosing the moves he wants to do, but this week he abstained, pointing to his teeth. I asked him to open up and his teeth on the bottom right were badly corroded. I think those teeth would hurt anyone. It was pretty upsetting to see so I had Amu translate for Rajan to talk to him about seeing a dentist. Amu said that the problem is that a lot of the families still use local remedies. There’s not much we can do from the outside. Baba has done a lot of wonders with these kids. He reminds them to brush their teeth, wash their hands. Who knows how many diseases they may be avoiding.
Another interesting, and a happy/sad thing is that they’re digging up the main road we use to get to the hall where we give classes. The trash was much worse than usual, all over the road and the normal pile at a certain point spilled over significantly. It was pretty hard to walk on the road, we had to watch our every step. It might mean good things for the future, I hope it does, but for now it’s pretty awful. I wonder how long it will take, who will benefit from the renovations, what does it mean for the community? These kids stick out, they have so much potential in so many ways. They’re smart, they’re athletic, caring, and kind to us and to each other. Anywhere in the world, a group of kids like that is hard to come by.

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