So the Taj Mahal is pretty great. We went in general unreserved seating on the train, which was an adventure in itself, then went to see the Taj Mahal and the Agra fort. There's nothing much to say except to try and give you a small idea of what it is like through these pictures. More are on facebook. Enjoy :)
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Thailand was absolutely amazing and the best vacation I have EVER had! I dont know if it is my favorite country because it is the first place i’ve been to purely for fun and not mission work, but I absolutely loved it!
My flight from India left at 5:30am, bringing me to Bangkok at 11:20 with my connection to Phuket leaving at 2pm. I arrived in Phuket at 3:20, got a shared van from the airport, and arrived at our hostel in Patong Beach to meet up with Ariel! I was starving after my day of flying, so we went out to explore and try to find food, discovering that street food sadly didnt exist in touristy Phuket. The game plan was to take a nap after eating before we went out that night (I didnt sleep at all the night before due to getting to the airport at 11pm so I could take the metro for cheap before it closed), but we also had to plan details of our Chiang Mai trip so that took precedence. We killed some time planning and giggling and catching up after not seeing each other in months, then went up to the room to get somewhat cute for a night on the town! Our hostel was specifically chosen because it was a 1 minute walk from both the beach and the center of nightlife on Bangla Road. Bangla Road is awesome, consisting of more raunchy GoGo Clubs and more bars than you could ever want in a single area. Due to the varied audience that reads my blog, I am going to refrain from giving details of my night.... lets just say it was one of the craziest and best nights out I’ve had, and sleep didnt occur until around 6 or 7am (message me on facebook if you really want the details). The next morning we hunted down brunch then threw on our bikinis for the beach. Of course it had to rain on my one beach day, but it let up enough later for us to get a bit of sun and swim for an hour or so. The airport van picked us up at 4pm, we departed for Chiang Mai at 8:20, and arrived at our new hostel in Chiang Mai close to 11. The hostel owner was very nice, staying up to wait for us then walking with us down to the local food stands so we could eat. 25 baht pad thai..... enough said. We also stopped by this hot milk stand, where you could get the sweet milk base for 5 baht then add in dried fruits and herbs for extra. Ariel got a milk with these yellow bean things in it, and I got sweet steamed bread with a gooey green sweet dip called pandan mixed with condensed milk. We also got an order of these long donuts, which we dipped in the milk and pandan mixture. Thus began our saga of eating.
Chiang Mai was very different from Phuket, as we were prepared for. Things were cheaper, and even though it was a decently large city, it didnt feel overwhelming at all. On our first full day up in the North, we got breakfast with our hostel owner at a small local shop, then headed to Tiger Kingdom to cuddle with tigers! We got tickets to go into the enclosure with the smallest and the largest cats. The small ones werent as small as we were hoping for, still the size of a large dog and not able to be cuddled like we had in mind. They were still really cool though, but we had to be extra careful since they were young and playful and might scratch or bite without realizing they were hurting someone. After smallest cats, we went to pet the huge ones! It was slightly intimidating at first getting into the enclosure with this giant predator. But the big cats were actually the most docile since they sleep most of the day and dont get playful. The tigers are still dangerous (they are predatory animals so that will never change), but they were raised in captivity and used to humans, so the danger is lessened dramatically as long as you follow the instructions of the trainers (no touching the head or the front paws, firm petting with no tickling, always approach from behind so you are not a threat approaching them head on). We got some really cool pictures, memories, and a story to tell from the experience. After Tiger Kingdom, we were hungry (surprise, surprise) so set out to sample some more delicious street food. Not much was open in the middle of the day as far as food, but we did discover a covered fruit market and decided to go on an exotic fruit binge to hold us over until dinner/the cooking class. We bought mangosteen, dragon fruit, jackfruit, mangos, and some small things we thought were lychees. It was so good eating all these fresh and new fruits (it was my first time eating all of them except mangos). Shortly after we washed all the sticky fruit juice off, the van arrived to take us to our evening Thai cooking class at Galangal Cooking School. The first stop was at the local market to explain and buy the ingredients we would be using for the class that night, which was pretty neat. We got to pick 4 different courses: an appetizer, a soup, a main dish, and a noodle dish. I chose vegetarian spring rolls, hot and sour tofu soup, tofu palanga, and pad thai. Ariel chose papaya salad, tofu coconut milk soup, green curry, and pad see ew so we would have different dishes to share and try. All of us wanted to do mango with sticky rice for a dessert dish too, so even though it wasnt part of the class, the instructor let us all do it together quickly at the end and share it. Everything was delicious, and she even gave us printed copies of all of the recipes offered to take home! I see a homemade Thai food night in my future in the US.... Straight from the cooking school, we went out to walk through the Sunday Walking Market which was a long strip of multiple roads lined with tables selling various things. I ended up getting a dress, and Ariel got a few pairs of pants. We had an adventure getting home since we thought we could walk and were being cheap as far as what we wanted to pay for a tuk-tuk. Turns out 5k isnt fun to try and walk when youre tired and gross and drenched from the humidity. Also turns out that if you are 2 foreign white girls who claim they are going to walk, the tuk tuk drivers will all laugh and talk about you amongst themselves and one will follow you from a distance until you stop because he knows it will be a matter of time until you give up.... Which worked for us because we had a ride, and he also took us for cheaper than the others were trying to get.
We were up nice and early the next morning because we were doing a day trip to Chiang Rai, the Golden Triangle, and the long neck village even farther North. It took about 2 hours to get to Chiang Rai, where we stopped to see the beautiful White Temple. We couldnt go in, which was very disappointing because the inside is said to be even more gorgeous, but the outside was still impressive. From the White Temple it was a bit of a drive to get to the Golden Triangle, which is the river delta forming the borders of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), and Laos. We didnt do the optional river boat tour, so while they were on the boats Ariel and I walked around to explore the shops and have a snack to hold us over until lunch (fresh pinapple slices, yum). Lunch at a delicious Thai buffet followed the Golden Triangle, then we drove more to the northwest to the Maesai market sitting right on the Myanmar (Burma) border. It is also the farthest north you can go in Thailand. We took some pictures, I got my dad some small Thai cigars, Ariel got some small god statues, then we went to a sticky bun bakery for some taro and pandan-filled buns (because lets be honest, eating is what we do best). Following the Myanmar border was the exploration of the long-neck village. In this village, the women start off very young adding metal rings around their necks to lengthen them as a mark of beauty and decoration. We were able to read that the coils dont actually lenthen the neck but rather pushes down the shoulders and ribs to give the illusion that the vertebrae are being stretched. There were pictures showing the skeleton of an unaltered woman compared to the skeleton of a long-neck woman after 20 years of wearing the rings. This was the last stop of the day, and we started the 4-hour ride home right after that. Dinner was 25-baht delicious pad thai again, then we opted for showers and sleep instead of going out anywhere. Our last day in Chiang Mai we didnt do too much. We had planned on going down to the old town to walk around and see some temples, but the old town was more like boutique shops rather than the traditional feel we were expecting from the oldest part of the city. It was also incredibly hot, so after seeing 2 temples and a monument, we decided to go cool off in the hostel during the heat of the day. We were supposed to go get sushi from the Tuesday sushi market around 5 before our bus to Bangkok arrived, but it was raining so the sushi market didnt set up (bummer). Another market did set up though, so we got a little bit of this and that at different tables and had a picnic dinner at the hostel. We ended up with a fried mixture of bananas and some kind of root, corn on the cobb, savory crepes, a bag of salad, and some slightly sweet homemade rice cakes. We saved the salad and rice cakes for the bus ride. At 6:30pm, the bus picked us up then we were off on the 12-hour overnight ride to Bangkok. Somehow, some way, we were robbed on the bus despite all of our bags being under our legs on the floor. They took about 1,000 baht from Ariel, and my debit card. Luckily our passports were in different bags, and luckily Ariel had some baht and her credit cards in a different pocket. I also had $20 on my in a different wallet so I could exchange that at a hotel and have some money for food and transportation. Unfortunately though, that makes life slightly difficult for the next few weeks since Blue Cross Blue Shield unexpectedly took out the money for the next 6 months of my health insurance which was basically everything left in my bank account to spend in Dubai, on my credit card bill, and on gas money for when I got home. Sarah was going to put money in my account for me to access, but now the card is gone. I do still have a different debit card and my credit card though, so i will have that to use if needed.
Bangkok did not impress me. Seriously. If you ever go to Thailand, its safe to skip it. We were told that ourselves so planned our trip to only spend the day of/before our flights in Bangkok. There is enough to do to keep you busy if you have money, but things cost more than in Chiang Mai which means you will spend a lot on whatever the activity is plus the higher cost of transportation to get through the busy city. We ate breakfast at a fried rice stand after arriving, got some milk tea and napped a bit at a booth in McDonalds since we were so exhausted, then went to see an absolutely amazing temple about 6km away in the city. The temple was called Wat Arun, which means Temple of Dawn. It has a big connection to cosmology, and is the most distinguishable structure in Bangkok due to its unusual shape and the beautiful details. We took a tuk-tuk to the riverside, crossed on the ferry to get to the temple, then ooh-ed and ahhh-ed as we walked around taking pictures. Next to the ferry was a small ice cream shop, so lunch became a 3-scoop passion fruit, green tea, and cookies and cream ice cream cup. Walking back out to the road we also saw a stand selling coconuts, and coconut ice cream inside of a coconut, which meant the second course of ice cream lunch consisted of sharing that as well. It was nice to have another taste in my mouth with the coconut ice cream since I also finally tried Durian from a booth on the street.... totally gross, and also something you can feel free to skip while in Thailand. Shortly after getting back to the hotel where we left our stuff, the guys (who we met in Phuket and were meeting back up with in Bangkok) arrived. We all went to get a few beers, then back to the hotel room to freshen up before going back out to a club for some more drinking. The beer we got in the bucket was not good at all, and neither was the show. The entertainment was performers singing and dancing to popular English songs, which looked like a train wreck and resembled bad karaoke more than a show. It was a far cry from all of the sexy excitement of Bangla Rd in Phuket, but the company was nice and we all just laughed and talked.
Leaving Thailand was sad, and saying goodbye to Ariel was the saddest. We had a fantastic trip together and hope to do more in the future J
I was not going to write an entry for this week because Caleb and I taugh the same material for the same Health class. But I do feel it is worth at least a short entry because the kids were really great. The previous week we taught at Tagore Public School in a slum near Sainik Colony. This week we traveled a lot farther to Miracle orphanage and school. Miracle is a Christian organization run by a very nice man named Jeremiah. There are around 30 kids at the orphanage who either have no parents, 1 parent, or parent(s) who cant take care of them. The orphanage is the upper floor of a concrete building, with multiple 6-bed dorm-style rooms, a common room, a kitchen, and 2 bathrooms in a very dirty slum. The children have devotionals every morning, eat breakfast, go to the school nearby for a few hours, come back and eat lunch, have some recess time, have dinner, then have bedtime. The school nearby is where we did our classes, and has about 100 students on the roster. The school building is one long concrete building with 4 very small classrooms. 1st-7th grade is taught, with 2 classes sharing a room except for 7th having its own (I believe). The 7th grade class knew a lot of English so we were able to teach them easily and engage them with the lesson, which went so well because they knew some of the material but didnt know other parts. The younger classes were a bit harder, but we did have a translator from the 7th grade class come in which still meant they could learn and get the information. As with the week before, we adjusted the worksheets and information given based on their age. The children at the school were all very friendly and very bright. By the second day, so many different kids would ask us to come teach their class that day, and wanted to hold our hands during recess and play hand games with us. They do the same thing with the 2 IVHQ volunteers placed there, and I guess just extended the warmth to us because we were also different. I can definitely see how volunteers get attached to kids while working in an orphanage, because I was starting to care about them after only 5 days.
Every day after the school teaching this week, we went back to Tagore and worked on a second project: painting our sign by the bathrooms! The wall was concrete and had dirty paint flaking off, so we decided we needed to make it a multiple-day project and do it right instead of just painting over it. On the first day, we got some sandpaper and steel wool to remove all of the paint and old plaster on the rectangle we wanted to use. The next day, we mixed up and spread a layer of new plaster. The third day, we sanded the dried plaster until it was smooth, then painted a coat of white. The last day, I got up early before placement and did a second coat of white, then after the orphanage school we came back to actually paint on the words. We decided to write “Use Soap” in English as well as Hindi; the school emphasizes teaching English but we still wanted younger children and those not good at English to be able to understand. I was complimented on my Hindi writing skills haha. I apparently can copy it very neatly. I was quite proud of our sign, and very glad we got the chance to leave our mark on Tagore Public School.
Monday, May 5, 2014
I was quite pleased with how my project turned out this week! Success! On Tuesday, Caleb and Susan went with me to Tagore Public School and we taught the 3rd and 4th grade combined class. This was my favorite class from my week of teaching in the past, and I knew they would be good. It started off a little rougher than desired because of the language barrier, but we ended up getting 2 translators so things went smoothly after that. I had 3 worksheets for them: one with important aspects of the presentation for them to fill out as the lesson progressed, a matching worksheet of different scenarios and what they should do in that scenario, then one on vitamins and fruits. The matching sheet was only pictures so I brought markers and let everyone color it in after they completed it correctly. The kids participated in answering questions, loved the coloring, and seemed very engaged. I altered the lesson slightly depending on the class: on Wednesday I had 2nd graders, so I gave them the same info on germs but skipped the first worksheet and just did the coloring and the vitamins/fruit worksheet. On Thursday I had 5th and 6th graders, so we did all of the worksheets and it was at the perfect level for them. On Friday, I had little first graders so we only did the coloring worksheet. For the first grade class, I actually walked them downstairs and we all washed our hands together at the faucet next to the toilets because I wanted to make sure they learned and remembered.
While the kids were eating lunch on Wednesday, Caleb and I watched to see if they were actually washing their hands. Pretty much all of them went to the faucet after coming out of the bathroom, but hardly any of them actually used soap! Even the older kids were not using it! We discussed how we could buy some soap and donate it, and also wondered if we could laminate my handwashing chart to post up on the wall next to the faucet. Then one of us (I forget who) suggested we paint a reminder up on the wall! We asked the prinicpal and his daughter if that would be okay, and they said yes. The daughter was a bit hesistant and kept asking me if I was sure I would be able to paint it up there. We talked to Dr. Prabhat, who agreed to get us paint and write out for us in Hindi what we wanted up on the wall. Hopefully next week we can accomplish that in addition to teaching at a different school J
One month until I am home
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Saturday (April 19)'s big activity was Audrey and me going into Delhi to hunt down the infamous Spice Market, something I had been looking forward to for a while. The Delhi Spice Market is definitely a sensation for your nose and eyes, but more so for your nose. As Audrey so aptly desribed: Imagine you are in a giant port-a-potty where multiple people start cooking Indian food then someone starts a load of laundry. The streets are not lined with booths like you’d imagine at a flea market, but rather everyone’s shop spills out into the street. You walk along and pass giant opened burlap bags of lentils, cashews, walnuts, peanuts, turmeric, nutmeg, cardamom, cumin seeds, fenugreek, ginger, tea, mixes (like garam masala), anise, dried apricot...and so much more. Each shop is the same, yet different. In some of them, you walk into the narrow store and there are prepackaged bags of every spice imaginable linining the wall in little labeled cubbies. In some, there are strictly the burlap bags and the owner will measure out, weigh, and bag the spices before your eyes. Some stores even have burlap bags of laundry detergent, should you need to purchase some of that (thus the laundry part in Audrey’s description). Needless to say, I bought some spices; I was not about to leave this glorious road without some. The price kind of made me wince at first-650 rupees. But then I realized the amount was just under $11 for 100g of cumin seeds, 100g of fenugreek, 100g of garam masala, 100g of channa masala, 100g of kitchen king mix, and 100g of blueberry tea. I tried getting all of the standard spices used in every Indian dish because I knew I wouldnt be able to easily get some of those at home, and they were much cheaper here than I could purchase them in the US for anyways. Aside from the spices, the street itself had a very “India” feel: carts, cars, rickshaws, and people were all rushing around at a pace and density that would make New York City jealous. Horns blared, people yelled, men hoisted sacks onto their shoulders... all in the normal coordinated chaos of India. And I loved it. I even got some street food on our way back to the metro station: an interesting egg wrap of tomatoes and potatoes.
Monday brought a new week, and a new placement opportunity. Caleb and I were able to go to the Mobile Clinic project, which is a mobile clinic ran out of an Ambulance by an organization called HelpAge India. The ambulance goes to 10 different small villages and slums in/near Faridabad Monday-Friday, seeing 2 places each day. Each village knows which day the clinic comes, and many of the patients are regulars who HelpAge has been providing free services for over many years. HelpAge India exists to provide the elderly (those over 60) who are living in poverty with primary care and medications for free. Of course I loved everything about this immediately. Normally the ambulance would only go to one village in the morning, but we went to 2 since they are so close. The 2 sites were small villages outside of the busy part of Faridabad, and took a little while to get to. It was interesting to see the difference in the impoverished between a rural village and a city slum. While the rural village is farther away from markets and hospitals, it seemed that the standard of living was slightly better out here: people seemed heartier, and their teeth were not as decayed. I believe one can actually stay healthier in an outskirt village since they are not living right beside open sewage and an abundance of trash. Food is also probably more easily grown since there is land they can tend in the village, but I did not see any gardens where we were. It was actually a slow day, and we only saw about 20 patients before heading back to the HelpAge India home base for a lunch break. After break, we went to a different site, which was a slum colony inside Faridabad. We saw more people at this site, and I was able to take a few blood pressures for the doctor and ask more questions about the patient and the given medications. Summer is the season for amplified bacterial growth, so those not receiving refils for pain medication or hypertension were usually complaining of loose bowels and intestinal disease.
The reason this entry is so late is due to the wifi being out all week.... And on top of being bored with no wifi, the heat is getting intense. The weather is consistently in the 100s during the day, and only cools to the high 80s overnight. In the next few weeks, we will be dealing with the 110s. With no AC. Yikes! Talk about First World Problems. We made it to cafe's a few times for wifi, but with the 9.5 hour time difference it has been impossible to communicate with people instantaneously (as those of you who sent me messages then waited 24 hours for a reply, then replied back and waited another 24 hours know).
After Monday at the mobile clinic I did not go to to placement since I got my poster supplies for my project! I spent a few days drawing out hand washing and tooth brushing tutorials and making reminder posters of ways to stay healthy. It was quite a task and I was pretty tired of the arts and crafts after 12 posters lol. I also got my lesson plans all laid out, and worksheets created to be printed. Tomorrow I will go with Dr. Prabhat to print them and also to buy the multivitamins. SO excited!
Friday, April 18, 2014
Monday began as a surprise, with Dr. Prabhat telling Karen, Caleb, and I that we were going to go do check-ups at the local slum school for all of the children. I was totally okay with this. Karen is a doctor, so this was her first chance to actually do some work while in India. Tagore Public School set us up in a downstairs classroom, where we saw students 3 at a time. Caleb and I each did preliminary check-ups, then sent them to Karen if anything was wrong or needed a second look. Most of the kids were basically healthy (or at least their normal level of health) but there were quite a few colds and coughs. Many of the children were also malnourished and stunted in growth, and one girl had a heart murmur that she needs to get looked at.
Tuesday and Wednesday were the days of this week's mini slum camp that was set up because Karen was here. We went back to the same area as the last camp, in the shrine building. The day was slower than the first day of the previous camp, but it was very good. We were able to do thorough checkups then have time to then go see how Karen and Dr. Prabhat talked to them and made their diagnosis. Karen would give me tips of other questions I should ask the patient, and signs and symptoms of various problems they were having.
Thursday, we didnt do anything because Dr. Prabhat got called into work for an emergency then stuck in a meeting. But Friday, we went to an elderly home and did check-ups for all of the residents there. Elderly homes are not very common in India since children live with their parents and take care of the parents when they are older. The one we went to was funded by donations, so the residents do not have to pay to stay there. There is a person who runs the home, a cook, and maids to do laundry and clean. A doctor comes by every week to check on those who need it or take care of new problems. Residents share rooms, and I believe there are 40 people total. The facility was not what we would call nice by Western standards, but neither was it in a condition to be worried about. We had a table set up in the common room downstairs, with the typical stations of blood pressure, blood sugar, pulse, preliminary examination, then Dr. Prabhat. Most of the residents already saw a regular doctor, but some had new problems or needed more pain medication for various aches and pains. We were able to see every single resident, which was great :)
If all goes as planned, next week I will be starting my health classes at the schools.
Also... 3 week countdown until Thailand! 5 weeks until Dubai! 6 weeks until I am home.
Monday, April 14, 2014
I have many issues with the current state of the IVHQ Health program. I was feeling very useless, very disappointed, and very frustrated with my lack of helping and interaction with the struggling people of Faridabad. I still plan on eventually discussing my issues with everyone involved in the Delhi program. But rather than complaining and cutting my stay short, I decided to make my placement worth staying for.
And now I am just about squealing with the excitement of what is before me!
I just submitted a proposal to IVHQ for a grant to help fund my ideal project. In the next few weeks I will be traveling to different schools in the poverty-stricken slum areas to teach them about health. I will be doing seminars that include lessons and demonstrations on how to properly wash hands, properly brush teeth, how bacteria spreads, and basic ways to reduce the transmission of disease. Knowledge is power. Morgan, who volunteers at an orphanage, shared a story with me that some of the girls were playing with a dead pigeon on the ground last week. She told them not to because you shouldn't play with dead objects-especially birds that have diseases-and they said to her "why? It's just a bird." Sanitation is a huge issue here, and if you dont know that drinking contaminated water will make you sick, sneezing on someone will spread germs, or that you shouldnt put your fingers in your mouth after playing in the dirt, then you are going to do it an not realize it is harmful. By learning these skills and making them habits, the quality of life of those in these communities can be increased. Ideally, if my proposal is chosen, I will be able to create health bags containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, hand sanitizer, and multivitamins for all of the children in the school to pass out after my presentation. It will also help cover the cost of creating posters depicting hand-washing and tooth-brushing techniques as well as posters about covering your mouth when sneezing and coughing. I intend on making at least one set of posters to bring with me as a visual teaching aid, but with more resources I could make enough to post around all of the schools to remain as reminders for the kids and staff. According to the website, one request is chosen at the end of each month, so I hope to hear back soon! And if I dont get it this month, I will try again next month since I will still be here.
Regardless, I will be starting my seminars next week :)
Between the possibility of getting this grant, and the fact 4 of us did free check-ups for over 150 students in the local slum school this morning, I am pretty freaking happy right now.
Gandhi once said "be the change you wish to see in the world." Well, world, here I am.
This past week was definitely a new experience for me, as I decided to take on teaching in the slum school. Rachel, a fellow volunteer, wanted to teach for a week so Sushma asked me if I would go with her so she wouldn’t be alone. I figured why not, lets try something new. It was equal parts rewarding and equal parts stressful. I definitely understand now why people fall in love with teaching, and I also understand how it is a labor of love that can make you want to rip your hair out.
The first day went fairly well once we got over “being thrown in the deep end.” We walked into school, were shown to the class we’d be teaching, then the girl teaching it left! We asked her what we should start teaching them and she just said “as you like.” We were dumbfounded. We had no idea what level the kids were at or what they knew and didnt know. Plus 4 grades were mixed together since it was the end of a holiday and many of the students stayed home. We decided to start simple and began teaching the different kinds of nouns (common, proper, collective, material, abstract) from a workbook we found in the room. Then we moved to math (addition and subtraction), then went back to English and taught them Baa Baa Black Sheep . All of this was on large chalkboard only; the students didnt have books to follow along with and most of them didnt even have paper and pencil to copy down what we were teaching.
The second day we were in the same mixed class, and it went a lot better. Our biggest accomplishment was teaching them fractions! We were able to use the little english they knew and draw on the board to help them understand how parts of a whole fit together. We only did adding and subracting fractions, and didnt teach them how to reduce since there was no way to explain it or have them visually understand equivalency. We moved on to pronouns in our English lesson, since that was the next logical step after teaching them nouns the day before. We also attempted to teach some division, but that didnt go as well for all of the students. A few of the girls in the front got it pretty quickly, but most of the class had a rough time.
The third day we came in feeling pretty great, but they stuck us in a different class that then crushed our hopes and dreams. All of the children were at school that day, meaning we had a full class of 25 students who wanted nothing to do with learning from weird white girls they couldnt understand. They knew less English than the last class, and were absolute hellions. We had to break apart multiple fights, yell quite a bit, and went to get one of the older girls to come in and make them be quiet because we just couldnt. I dont even remember what we tried teaching that day, but I do know we left early because we were just done and couldnt take it anymore.
Thursday was a public holiday due to the elections, so no school or placement for any of us. We decided to make a trip into Delhi to walk around and see stuff since we had the day to ourselves. We got off the metro at a stop near Pahar Ganj, which was supposed to be a busy area full of shops and restaurants. Instead, the entire street was dead. I suppose we should have figured all of the shopkeepers would be taking the day off as well. Luckily a few restaurants were still open so we were able to get a seat and eat some food. By the time our late lunch finished, some of the shops were opening. But we had more to see before going home for the day, so after buying some jalebi at a corner stand we walked back to the metro. The next stop was at Chandni Chowk, a famous market I had heard much about from other volunteers. I dont know if it was the fact it was election day so the usual affairs werent going on, but it was seriously one of the sketchiest places I have walked through. We were trying to find the spice market, which was supposed to be 2km down through Chandni Chowk. We ended up not being quite sure if we found it or not since everything was (surprise) dead. Getting to the spot, though, took us through dark and damp sidewalks and down the road past huge groups of staring men....not a woman in sight. We stopped a few times to get reoriented and decide which was the best direction to keep walking in, and of course as soon as we stopped the men started taking pictures of us. The sun was getting low in the sky too, so as soon as we found where we thought the spice market should be we decided to take a tuk-tuk back to the metro rather than walking past the creepers again. We got home with no issues, and all was normal the rest of the night.
Teaching on Friday went as well as it could, seeing as we refused to teach that second grade class again. We had the 3rd and 4th grade mixed class, who were still rowdy but a lot more respectful and willling to learn. We went over verbs, subtraction where you needed to borrow, read some English stories, then played hangman with words from the story. The last hour of the day, we switched classes and all taught alone. I ended up teaching a computer class to a group of incredibly well-behaved first graders. Now keep in mind, I am teaching a computer class to children in the slums who have probably never seen a computer before. I ended up drawing a computer on the board then labeling all of the major parts and having them repeat the names (CPU, monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc). Then I erased the labels and we went through all the names again until they could spell them all out and label pieces when randomly called on. Then I drew a huge keyboard with all of the keys in the proper order (I had a diagram to go off of), drew a smaller monitor, and had the kids each come up and “type” their name by touching the keys then writing their name on the monitor. I think they get the general idea, though it would be great to actually be able to show them in real life.