Thursday, May 21, 2015

First Impessions and Fun Facts

First impressions:

  • HOT and HUMID. Wow, we're living in a sauna! I can't imagine getting used to this, but I sure hope we do. The minute we walked out of the airport, that was India's first impression on me. I don't know how it couldn't be. We're eternally grateful for our AC in our room. 
  • Kind. So far, we haven't met a single Indian who's not super nice. From the cute Indian family in the Phoenix airport with 4 adorable kids, to the man who started chatting with us on our 9-hour flight from Frankfurt to Chennai, to all the staff here at Rising Star, to the residents of the leprosy colony we visited today. Very respectful. 
  • Beautiful. It's very green and lush, the campus is covered in mango trees full of green mangoes hanging down like Christmas ornaments. We're excited for them to be ripe next month. And, the clothing is beautiful. Well, on the native women it is. I still feel very not-so-beautiful, and that I'm lounging around in my pajamas. 
  • Lots of white rice. Every meal. We've only had three meals, but every one was some kind of sauce with some vegetables over rice. We've liked most of the food quite a bit.

My outfit today

Breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Take your pick!

Fun Facts:
  • Instead of the word "question," here, they say "doubt." Do you have any doubts? Just let me know if you have any doubts. 
  • "Love marriages" (marriages like ours that are not arranged) are very rare. Almost everyone has an arranged marriage here, and they seem to have pretty strong, happy families from what I can tell in my two days of experience. We've talked about how, essentially, you choose to love your spouse whether you chose them to be your spouse, or not. 
  • Drivers drive on the right side of the car, on the left side of the road, and they use their horns like blinkers. So, if you're about to pass somebody or switch lanes, it's the safe thing to do to honk a few times.  
This morning we got in a van with the other coordinator here, Shane, and six other medical staff who work for Rising Star. We went to a leprosy colony about an hour away. It was much nicer than I imagined. There were little cottages built by the government, and the people were gathered for us before we got there. They inform them by phone the day before of the place and time they should be. I helped take their blood pressure, then the staff assessed their wounds and re-wrapped their bandages. They visit each colony about once a month. We also set up a projector and showed an educational video about how cleanliness prevents disease.  I didn't understand the words, but the video was great even without understanding the words. The language barrier is a bigger problem than I anticipated, because most speak their mother tongue, which in this state of India is called Tamil. 

We're so happy to be here and are learning lots! Thank you for your support and prayers! We feel great and feel very safe. 


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