The first thing everyone said when they came back from Dharamsala was “You won’t believe how clean the air is!” They’re right, and I find that it smells a bit like Lochearn – I suppose it’s that fresh mountain air.
I, however, am now battling some nasty upper respiratory thing, which has left me with an incessant cough (and I’m the ONLY one coughing), a headache, and very little energy. I feel like my body is fighting something off and kind of teetering on the edge of really being sick. It doesn’t help that I traveled all weekend and the journey up here yesterday was 12-13 hours by train and then bus, and we arrived after 11 pm. So I’m hoping a good night’s sleep will go a long way.
I’m rooming with Elissa, who I had loved meeting a month ago when we all started out in Delhi together. Oddly enough, I can’t remember if I posted this before, her parents also moved to Osterville, and the two of us actually voted at the Osterville Elementary School in the primary. It’s so weird that our paths nearly crossed then and now we’re roommates.
My group here is great. So much variety in ages, and some of my favorite kinds of people: 1) Mormons, 2) vegetarians, and 3) Amazing Race fanatics. And some who are all 3! Fabulous. I think I’m going to enjoy my time with this group.
I went to my placement today and I think I’ll like it. I’m with Simona, an Australian engineer who’s on leave from her job, and we’ll have a group of 15 or so children from ages 1-4. They also have a regular teacher who is so warm and friendly, quite a contrast to the caregivers at the orphanage. The kids seem so healthy and vivacious and I think they’re going to be so much fun to teach and spend time with. CCS has given us a curriculum to teach and I think that will help. The kids know a few songs and rhymes in English, and it was really funny to hear them singing “We Shall Overcome”! The daycare is in one teeny-tiny room with cement walls and floor and a mat to soak up the pee from the little ones. We’re hoping maybe we’ll be able to paint while we’re here. It’s very interesting because the difference in mental health between kids who are poor but have parents and kids who are well-taken care of but living in an orphanage is so clear to me. Makes me more committed to helping the orphans, but I think the daycare experience will be really fun, and they certainly can use our help too. I think the teacher will really help me with my Hindi, and we can teach her more English as well.
It’s beautiful here, and I need to get some pictures. (I can see snow-capped Himalayan peaks from my balcony!!) I’ve just been a bit tired and overwhelmed so I haven’t whipped out the camera much. Once I settle in I think it will be a great month.