Thursday, June 4, 2015

Carson's Birthday and Back to School

Monday, June 1, was a very important day. One of the most important celebrations in my book. The day one amazing man was born, Carson Ralphs.

I only wish it was easier to celebrate here. As it was, we had some Indian sweets, some homemade frozen custard, and went out to get Domino's pizza. That last part sounds so easy, right? What was intended to be a 1-hour excursion turned into 3 hours of miscommunication and the final arrival to a Domino's pizza stand that only sells personal pizzas the size of a bagel. Not quite sure if it was worth it, still. But all of us here are sure grateful for Carson and all he does for us! He's truly one in a billion.

That day we did some projects on the Rising Star campus, because the medical team was out on a three-day trip, and that was the day the 250 Rising Star students came back to campus after being away for two months. We raked lots of fallen mango leaves, and in the process found three small snakes. Carson killed them with his rake. What a guy!

So, as I said, the students are back! And boy, are they back! They change the entire feeling of this campus, in a good way. There are kids running on the track and playing on the field, filling the halls of the school, filling the dining hall we used to eat in by ourselves. 

 This is the dining hall. Watching a meal take place there is such a sight! They file in and sit in squares on the floor with their housemates (the kids are in groups of about 20 who are assigned to one house mother). One of the older kids gets the dishes of food for the group (which always include a gigantic bowl of white rice). The entire dining hall full of 250 kids bows their heads and recites a prayer, they say amen, and the air is full of happy chatter and eating within milliseconds. They pass around a pitcher of water for whoever wants some, and each just pours water directly into their mouths. Well, the little kids kind of put their whole mouth on it, and make us public health majors squirm a little, as if them eating with their unwashed hands after being in school all day and touching the floor before eating doesn't.  I suppose they just have immune systems of steel by now. As soon as they're done eating, they all wash their own dish. They only have one dish, because they don't use utensils. Everyone here eats with their hands.....except us that is. We ask for forks. I have no desire to eat with my hands.

They're pretty amazing. I'd like to see a school cafeteria in the U.S. where all the kids eat the same meal without complaining, and wash their dish afterward in a such orderly fashion. These kids also take their shoes off before entering their classrooms, and they don't just kick their shoes off into a heap. From kindergarten up, they very neatly line their shoes up in little rows in the hall.

As volunteers, we get to work one-on-one with specific children. Since they go to a boarding school and are always in large groups, they rarely get one-on-one attention. So we help kindergartners learn their alphabet, help 1st and 2nd graders read library books, have chats about values with the older kids  (today's topic was dedication in school; other values are things like honesty, service, etc.), help students of all ages in the computer lab do English and math programs, and many other activities.

We also do the opening exercises in the morning with the brand new kindergartners. We sing "Five Little Monkeys," "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" and some other new songs we love like "Go Bananas." They're precious. We also have played Duck, Duck, Goose every morning, and you should see these kids when they get chosen as "goose." They hardly can contain their excitement as they try to get up and run. They often just run around in gleeful circles and completely forget to try and sit in their classmate's spot. So noncompetitive, such pure 5-year-old bliss. It's amazing how much fun we 20-somethings have playing Duck, Duck, Goose.

On another note, we're really happy to be getting red rice for dinner instead of white rice. It's a whole grain, like brown rice, but red.
This is a typical dinner plate. Dal over red rice, some version of a green bean, fruits and vegetables, and cooked potatoes. We really like it, but it's literally almost the same exact thing every single day. And to think all of India eats Indian food every day of their lives! Literally! We're just not used to eating the same genre of food all the time. Makes me so much more grateful for the variety we have access to. 

I don't have many pictures of relevant things, because when we're working with the kids I don't have time to take pictures. But I'll try to get some soon, because they're the cutest sight in their uniforms, flip flops, and little Rising Star matching belt buckles!

1 comment:

  1. It warmed my heart when you said "all of us here are thankful for Carson and all he does for us.". I'm glad others are seeing and appreciating how hard-working and responsible he is.


You Might Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...