a little bit more about where I work

They hype hasn’t died yet. I passed by a protest of older individuals chanting and wearing caps that say I am Anna Hazare. It made me happy. I stopped on my bike to take a picture of them. They paused to let me do so. I hope this continues. In the news it speaks about how Hazare is loosing weight and his health is declining, but his message is clear and in Delhi he has a large following.
This morning I went on a community visit to one of our centers where we’re having a slight attendance issue. When working in Harlem I would occasionally encounter parents who were quite indifferent about their children, stating that they were old enough to make their own decisions about going to school or our after school program, that if they wanted to do nothing with their life, that was their decision to make. Here that problem is also prevalent. Many parents were in the homes with their kids who didn’t make it to the center in the morning. It baffles my mind how parents could just let their kids not go. There is the other end of the stick as well. Some of our kids are so motivated, they go to another class outside of our class, they go to school and take care of many household responsibilities. One mother even pawned her gold earrings just to send her daughter to a tutoring class; her daughter knows how much that’s worth and is making her mother proud. Another issue many of our kids face is cleanliness. Two of the communities we went to are decent. Most of the kids live in a one room house, the room includes, usually, a bed, a cupboard, a bathing area and a kitchen are. These rooms are probably about the size of some of my friend’s bedrooms growing up. The inside of many of the houses are spotless. Other kids aren’t so lucky. Some kids in this particular center live in a neighborhood where the houses are made out of sheet metal and the streets are lined by dirty dirt. There’s a puddle in the middle of the road which is lined by dirty dirt and trash. I mean dirty dirt because it’s not just dirt, but it’s dirt mixed with all trash and liquid trash, dog or other animal poop, or other icky items. It left a very strong impression on me. I couldn’t imagine living in that condition of filth. Not all of our kids live like that. Like I said, many of them live in really clean and organized houses and neighborhoods. My intention here isn’t to make anyone feel bad for “those poor kids” but to show a little bit more about some of the kids I work with.
Last weekend I went on a class trip to the Japanese garden. It’s a garden to symbolize the links between Okayama and Pune. It was great. The kids had such a great time, I got to bond with them in different ways than you do when you’re in a classroom. Kids like to run around, make noise, and that’s just what they did. There was a friend’s roommate who is from Japan who came with us on the trip. She spoke with them about life there, schools, politics, and told them the story 1,000 cranes. They loved it. I had a great time with them, despite chasing after them when they ran too far ahead. The concept of trip taking is a little more relaxed than it is in the US; I had to remember that. The kids are a little more free to be kids, to run a little more ahead. I feel like kids here are a little less prone to just walk off. They’ll run ahead but always come back. I’m not sure how to describe how much the kids are different, or at least these kids are different. They have so much energy, but they’re intentions are so good. I have a new partner at that center who’s seeking to usurp my old partner’s place. Saibana used to behave very well when I came to the center, he still does; the teacher knew he was an Ana’s pet. Now, Kiran, grabs my hand and takes me everywhere. He kept saying didi, didi, look at this, and saying didi let’s go. He’s a very sweet kid. They’re also all obsessed with cameras. If you start with a camera all of them will ask to be in a picture. They’re a mess with cameras. I let them take mine and take pictures, I feel bad that I delete many of them later, but at least they enjoy the camera experience.
This week is the end of my crazy capoeira daily schedule. I’ll be happy to come home twice a week and just have me time. It was really great to share it with so many people.
Rain is back. The rainy season took a break, but it’s back in full force. It makes everything green and vivid.
My kitten is doing well as well. She now lets me sit with her while she drinks the milk. I tried to pet her yesterday; she did a mini hiss and backed up. Later on she came back to finish her milk. She knows when I’m coming and she meows like crazy. I feel like I’m her protector and caretaker.

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