Thursday, December 5, 2013

Real India

In my last post, I was giving myself a hard time for sticking around the office and my hotel. Today I got out and experienced India fully, complete with eating with my hand this lovely South Indian lunch above. The staff in the office were giving me a hard time about using the spoon they provided, so I dug in, literally today.
Also, for those of you who know me, I can be a bit of a picky eater and avoid sauces or food I don't recognize always. I wanted to put on the record (Mom) that I tried everything on my plate.

I spent the day with one of the partner organizations we work with. In the morning there were presentations and Q&A time with the Community Health Workers who go into the villages and educate people on the importance of having a toilet in their home. They also teach hygiene education in the local schools. The kids sang me four songs about the importance of clean water and sanitation and asked me to return with a song - I chose Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, which they clapped along to.

After visiting several of the classrooms, the headmistress (left), and Jayanti, my co-worker in the India office (right), had photos taken outside of the school's toilet block. I am pretty sure it's normal for visitors to come and be most excited about the toilets.

The teacher of the first-year students was teaching them the alphabet, using the floor as a chalkboard. I thought this was my best photo all day.

Tea time is very serious, so we stopped on our way to visit some of the villages (and yes, the toilets there) at this roadside tea shop. This was only half of the group of men and boys standing directly in front of me, watching me drink my tea. The other half scattered when I started to take a picture.
After tea, we visited three villages and met women who serve on water committees and work together to save money to lend to each other for water and sanitation improvements. After the visits were over, one of my other co-workers picked Jayanti and I up for dinner at his house with his wife and two sons. Dinner was delicious and the children's dance recital video we watched for two hours was interesting but I was so tired that I turned down the last tea of the day. Thanks for stopping by!

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