Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Research and India Independence Day

As far as my research goes, my companion (seriously, I feel like I’m a missionary here sometimes. Kristin and I are constantly together because we’re doing pretty much the same research project. We’re always running to “appointments”, politely drinking beverages we don’t want while in people’s homes, and when we’re with our translator, we feel like she’s a member going on splits with us). Anyway, Kristin and I and I have been going to the Jalari Peta daily. (That’s the slum on the outskirt of the city where we’re doing the bulk of our research.) Our professors just want us to go there at least once every day and hang out for a while so the people there will get used to seeing us around. So, we go at different times everyday and walk around and talk to people. We get to hold precious Indian babies, which is always fun. The other day I brushed my teeth with a stick, the way they do. It splinters in your mouth, but it was cool to try out.

The other day, I had my first legit interview. We met with the headmistress of the only elementary school in the Jalari Peta. I was really impressed with her. She spends 15-20 days each year going around to every household in the Jalari Peta to explain the importance of education and the amenities the school provides (text books, meals, and uniforms for all the children), in order to educate the children and parents. The children usually drop out of school by the age of 10. The school has about 500 students and 7 teachers, 3 of whom are volunteers. The headmistress asked Kristin and I to teach English to the older students of the school every Saturday. We are so excited, because it’s exactly the type of thing we want to do. We were surprised that we have received this opportunity so early in our research, as well, because we were not expecting that. So I’ll let you know how that goes, and if anyone has any teaching English as a second language ideas, I would love to hear any and all of them.

Also, on India Independence Day, we were walking back from field/sports day at the Jalari Peta, and passed by a little band playing outside a little temple. The music was like an Indian-jazz fusion. The temple was small and crammed with people. They all started yelling at us and motioning for us to come in. We went over and they dragged us into the temple, where a coule was getting married. They shoved yellow rice into our hands to sprinkle on the heads of the bride and groom. They gave us each a bindi (the red forehead dot), and guided us right back at the door. It happened so fast, and it was so loud and bright and colorful. I think it was like how I pictured India to be before I came.

And Independence Day:

(photo courtesy of Madeliene Mayo)

(photo courtesy of Madeliene Mayo)

1 comment:

  1. So is Kristin the girl you're pictured with, or is it that dude you were drinking the soda with below it? I just don't know!