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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

This morning I left 25 degrees and sunny, palm trees, flowers, and fruit that is still good and came back to 12 degrees, cloudy, rainy, no palm trees or flowers.... awesome... One week was definitely not long enough in Hyderabad. The weather was amazing. It was sunny and around 80 all week but it wasn't just the weather. There is something about it that makes it so much different than Delhi. Maybe just because I really needed a change.
I was lucky enough to spend Christmas in Hyderabad with a family friend, Hannah, from the states who is here visiting her family. They were so welcoming and it was a great experience to be a part of an Indian family! Hannah was busy working on her new house but showed me a lot of things around the city. The top picture is of the mosque called Charminar. It is the most popular site in Hyderabad. Charminar is the equivolent of France's Arc de Triomphe. It is located in the center of the city and is surrounded by Bazaars selling a variety of different things. The most famous one is Laad Bazaar. It is a large strip with shops and vendors selling fabric, scarves, bangles, clothes, sarees, shoes, jewelery, and just about anything you could be looking for. Needless to say we spent a while there one afternoon.

 Another great thing about Hyderabad was the diversity. There were not many travelers, but it was great to see so many different religious groups in one area. Here in Delhi you really only see Hinduism. Its advertised and all the holidays are celebrated widely but you never really see anything about any other religions. In Hyderabad the Hindu Temples are advertised as well as Mosques, Churches, and every type of ceremony that is happening. There is also a large statue of Buddha (the other picture) in the middle of the lake. It is on a stretch of the road called the Tangbund. There is a mini fair ground on one side with food stands, henna booths, and a book fair and on the other side of the road there are sculptures of great poets, writers, philosophers, and artists. 

We were able to go to a Christmas celebration in a park, a pageant on Christmas Eve, and to church on Christmas morning. Hannah also showed me the studio that her brother created and now they run a Christian broadcast station on TV. The whole family is a part of the station. They all help run it and the four sisters all sing and read messages for the program.

I wasn't exactly looking forward to coming back to this weather but it will be good to get back to the kids! It's only been a little over a week and I already miss them. I hope everyone is has a great holiday season and makes the most of the start of a new year! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hi All, I haven't been in the mood to sit and type a lot lately but it has pretty much been same old Faridabad. I have been teaching English and Science at the school and also helping them make and decorate envelopes that they send out as thank you cards or they use as money envelopes for weddings. Today at about 1pm I took a taxi from Faridabad and headed to the airport. My flight was at 5pm and I landed here in Hyderabad safe and sound at about 7:10pm. So far I like it, haven't seen much but of course I'm biased to the city! But there is more to come. Lots of shopping and sight-seeing in the next week, so much to look forward to! Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday season!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Greetings from Varanasi!! It is absoloutely gorgeous here. The internet is pretty expensive so I will post a longer explanation and pictures when I get back and have more time. I'm having a great time and I am wishing I didn't have to go back to Faridabad so soon! Have a great day!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hi everyone! I know its been awhile since my last post. There hasn't been much going on at the hospital lately so I have been working at other projects for the past two weeks. Last week I spent one day at the hospital and then I spent 3 day with the ambulance project. It is basically a traveling pharmacy for elderly people in the area. The ambulance goes to 10 different locations around Faridabad, two each day. From 9am to 4pm the patients come to the location of the ambulance and they have their blood pressure checked and have a simple check up. Then they can go to the window and the pharmacist will read their card and give them whatever medication they need. The picture of the ambulance is attached in the pictures at the top. On Friday we had the day off because it was Diwali. It is a religious holiday for Hindu's and it is celebrated similar to a combination of our Christmas and Independence Day. There are lots of lights, gifts, and fireworks. There was also a celebration at Prakash Deep (the school) celebrating Diwali. The children dressed up, if they could, and they presented dances and had an art contest and were given a meal. This week I spent two days at the hospital and then three days at Prakash Deep. Today at school we had a celebration for "children's day" which is Sunday but they wanted to include two volunteers that are leaving today. They did their normal morning prayer and then they all sat on the mats and a few classes presented songs or dances while others worked on art and others we able to help cook different types of food for everyone to try. They art they made today is for them to enter a local contest on Sunday. They were also given highlighters and crayons today as presents. Tomorrow Berit and I are traveling to Delhi, spending two nights there, and then traveling to Varanasi on Monday morning. It's going to be a 20 hour train ride but I'm sure it will be an experience. Tonight Berit and I were invited to have dinner with a family we met at church on Sunday. The family is a man named Joshua, who runs a Christian radio station here in Faridabad, his wife and two young sons. We are headed to the market to buy them a present now, I will post about the evening later! I hope you enjoy the pictures! Happy Friday!!   

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hi All, there hasn't been much going on at the hospital recently. It's festival season so a lot of people are on holiday or are just staying home. I have been doing pretty much the same thing I was before, just watching births and surgeries and checking blood pressures and weights, and helping with paper work. This Tuesday was a pretty exciting day though! It was a holiday called Karva Chauth. On this holiday all the women get Henna and wear alot of jewelery and bangles but they are fasting all day. At night, they have a pooja (prayer ceremony) and pray for their husbands to have a long life! Some men will also fast on this holiday for their wife. Dr. Kapoor invited a few of us to accompany her to the temple and see the traditional ceremony. They light candles and offer food and chant at the temple and then they go to the house of an elder relative of their husband to receive their blessing. As soon as the moon comes up, they are allowed to eat again and they generally will have a feast with a large amount of their family.  Right now I am planning trips to Shimla, Varanasi, Dharamshala, and Hyderabad (where I will be spending Christmas with family friends from the States). A friend and I were spending some time at the program coordinator's house today and he asked me if I would be interested in moving back to that house sometime soon and basically taking over their orphanage. There are a few volunteers there but they are leaving soon and there is a care taker for the children but she isn't very strict with them and she will need some help once the four other girls go home. They would need help getting up and ready for school in the morning and they need someone to cook for them and help them study. There are 6 orphans there now and they are looking into taking in additional children soon. I'm a little sad to be missing out on Halloween, but we do have a holiday coming up called Diwali, which is similar. The girls and I have planned a Halloween movie party this weekend and are looking forward to that! Have a great weekend everyone, Happy Halloween!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hi All, I have so much to write about! The past few days have been lots of fun. Wednesday, Michelle and I went to work at the hospital. Later in the day the Doctor and I started talking about Temples I had been to and she suggested one that was near the hospital and Rinki, one of the nurses, offered to take us. It was close to the temple and was very beautiful. It was a Shiva Temple, so all the statues and pictures and shrines inside and outside are of  or dedicated to Lord Shiva. I did not have my camera with me that day but I will be able to borrow some from Michelle later on. When we got home the other girls in the house wanted to go to the market and the Temple near our house. While we were at the Temple, we met two girls who live in Faridabad. They took us around the Temple and we found out that it is an Ashram as well. They invited us in and we got to meet one of the men who runs the program for the students there and he also introduced us to the owner of the Temple. They continued showing us around and we were invited to attend a prayer. They were having a prayer to the Goddess of Strength. There were many people in the room and we were brought to sit in the front. They were singing, chanting, and offering fire to the Goddess. After the prayer they took us to the grave of the founder of the Temple. He is buried outside the Temple and it is under where he used to live. They changed his walls to glass and people also gather around the site to worship. Before we left, one man invited us to come back today because there would be a big celebration for the holiday Navratri. Friday, all six of us in the house decided to go to Delhi. We went to the Akshardham Temple first. It was so beautiful and the girls who have been said that it was even more impressive then the Taj Mahal. We were not allowed to bring cameras inside so I will post a picture from the internet. After the temple we went shopping in Connaught place and Sunder Nagar. Sunder Nagar was a lot of fun. Most of us had never been there before. It is another shopping center like Connaught Place, but quite a bit smaller. They have an amazing Tea House, were we all spent quite a bit of time, and a lot of interesting antique stores. This morning we woke up and got ready to go to the Temple for the celebration. There were hundreds of people from all around Faridabad. Some were worshiping in the Temple, some walked around, and some listened to a speech at a service by the Guru at the temple. We decided to do all three. After the ceremony we were brought into another part of the Temple and we sat around a fire and offered rice and oil into the fire while prayer chants were being read. After this we were brought to the Guru and were given a blessing by him. There were many reporters there and we were interviewed by one at the end. When we got back we had lunch and today is Kate's last day so she went to the market to do some last minute shopping and get a Henna Tattoo. Now we are going through pictures and plan to watch a movie later and maybe plan trips for later on in our stays. Hope everyone has a great Saturday!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hi everyone! I have been pretty busy lately, but everything is going great! The hospital is still alot of fun. Not much there is new but we have gotten to see a few more births and surgeries. I spent the last two weekends in Delhi with friends. Last weekend I went alone to meet up with some friends that I met a few weeks ago. It was a lot of fun and I got to meet new people from Germany, Romania, Columbia, and Poland as well. This weekend I traveled with Allison and Joty and we went to watch the Common Wealth Games. We were planning on watching Gymnastics and Swimming but they were both sold out. We ended up getting tickets for Track and Field on Saturday, which was still fun to watch. It lasted about two hours and the events were both Mens and Womens; Hurdles, 200M, 400M, Discus, and Long Jump. After it was over we went shopping and got lunch in Connaught Place, which is the main shopping center in Delhi. When we got back today we helped Joty pack all of her things. She left today to spend a month in Punjab with her aunt and uncle that live there. We are headed to have lunch now and hopefully I will have another Hindi lesson later on. I will put pictures up soon! Have a good day!   

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Supra bhat (good morning) everyone! Hope the first part of the week has been great for you all. For the past three days, Joty (another volunteer) and I have been working at Kapoor hospital under Dr. Meena Kapoor. She is a OB/GYN so we mainly get to check blood pressure and weight of the mothers and help with ultrasounds and listen for heartbeats of the babies. We also are being taught  how to examine the mothers before and after delivery to make sure that everything is ok. We also get to watch any surgeries or births happening while we are there. We are also learning a lot from the pediatrician that works there. We sit in his exam room while he is working and he explains everything to us plus asks us questions to see if we already know about what is going on with the child. On Monday afternoon I was able to watch my first delivery. It went smoothly and the baby and mother left today and are doing very well! Today I was able to watch a c-section birth and both mother and child are resting and doing well. The mother from Monday was very excited that we watched her delivery and couldn't wait to be back in her room so she could take a picture of us with him. Back at home I have been learning a lot of Hindi from Justin. We have a Hindi lesson or two every week and they are really helpful! Right now I'm off to the market. We introduced the girls living in the other house to Nutella, so now we run out of that and bananas much faster :) Pictures of the babies should be up soon! Have a great day!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Good Afternoon everyone! Hope the day is going well for all of you! I haven't posted for a while because I have been procrastinating since I have so much to write! The last time I posted I was getting ready to travel to Rishikesh for the weekend. It was a great trip! I was invited to go by Allison's friend Luis, who is a Marine stationed here. We went with Joty (a new girl at the house from California) and Luis' friends Nora and Adrian. We had some difficulty getting there. We got caught in a flood and behind a landslide so it took us a little longer than expected, but it was still worth the 12 hour drive! We spent the first night at a hotel in at the base of the Himalayas since the landslide blocked our way up. The next morning a few workers at the hotel came and picked us up and brought us to our hotel. It was beautiful. It was a cottage in the middle of the Himalayas, about half way up a mountain. We got settled in, ate lunch, and set off for a hike! Our tour guide brought us a little further up the mountain and then a good distance across. We found a waterfall that was not part of the tour but we decided that we wanted to climb it anyway. The whole tour took about 4 hours. I will post picture of it right after this! That night we ate dinner and then had a bonfire outside the cottage. In the morning we got up and had a yoga session at 9, since Rishikesh is the yoga capital of the world! After breakfast we packed up at headed back down to Rishikesh. We spent the day there sightseeing and walking along the Ganges river. We had planned to go rafting but the water level was still very dangerous and we were not allowed to go. We got back very late Tuesday night and headed straight to bed. Wednesday we spent the day cleaning, doing laundry, and catching up on sleep from the weekend. Thursday Joty and I went to the Charitable hospital to work. It was not very busy so there was not much to do. We were able to watch a few x-rays being taken and then we sat in the pharmacy and assisted there for a while. After work we went to the market nearby. It is the largest in the area. Right now I am helping Justin and Dr. Bandhu look for new projects to work at. They found one other hospital where Dr. Bandhu knows the Doctor in charge there. Her name is Meena Kapoor and she is a gynocologist. I had a lot more work to do there, which was great. First they needed me to clean and roll gloves. After I finished that I was able to watch quite a few ultrasounds. I was also taught how to examine a pregnant woman to check the vitals of the baby. I was supposed to watch a tubectomy but it was rescheduled. I was introduced to the Pediatrition there and was able to help him for a while. I sat with him and watch and help with his exams. After they were finished, I completed his rounds with him and then it was time to go home. Yesterday Justin gave me a little Hindi lesson and taught me to count to ten and Indu (one of the girls living in the other section of the house) taught me to write my name in Hindi. We taught the girls in the house a few card games and we usually talk with them and play cards after dinner. They love phase 10! We have played that two nights in a row. Tomorrow Allison and I will be going to Delhi to see Luis and Adrian before they leave. They both transfer posts on Monday morning. Right now I am headed to get the mouse out of our room (Hopefully!!!) and go to sleep! I will post pictures of the floods and the Himalayas soon! Have a great rest of the day!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Goodmorning everyone! For the past few days I have been teaching at Prakash Deep School. The older classes are in exams still so I have been teaching the junior classes. I am teaching Music and Drawing but I also help the teachers with whatever they need, such as correcting classwork or helping the children with their work. Monday I taught an English class as well as drawing. Yesterday Allison and I went with Dr. Savitta to another location of the school. We were given a presentation of what they have been working on. They are all younger children, so this included rhymes, the alphabet, and numbers 1-100 (all in both Hindi and English). I also played guitar for them a little bit and then we turned it into a game similar to musical chairs, which they enjoyed. Today I helped Dr. Savitta prepare the exams for the standard 6 class and then I taught a music class. I played a few songs on guitar for them as well and then I taught them London Bridge, If You're Happy and You Know It, Twinkle Twinkle Iittle Star, and Bingo. After they learned these, they sang me a few of the ones they already knew. Most of them I had never heard before. After Music class I helped correct their math and english work and passed out their lunches. Monday night after dinner we taught Pooja and Simpy (two of the students living in the host family) how to play Phase 10. They loved it and want to play again tonight! I will most likely be at the school for the rest of the week and hopefully traveling this weekend. Hope everyone has a great day at work and school!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Hi everyone! I have been pretty busy the last few days so I have quite a bit to write! On Wednesday Pauline and I went to the Hospital to work. It is split into 3 floor. The first floor is the consultation rooms, the gynocology ward, and the pharmacy. The second floor is the blood test lab and the gerenal ward. The third floor is the surgical ward. The general ward is nothing like our hospitals here. It is one giant room with lines of beds and all the patients are all together. At first there wasn't much to do because they don't start giving medicine until 10am. We talked to a doctor for a few minutes and watched them give medicine for a while. After a few minutes we went downstairs with a doctor named Rahoul to his consultation room to help him. He is one of three doctors that runs consultations. He sees all types of patients from simple muscle pains to Malaria and Tuberculosis. We learned alot about different types of diseases and their causes and treatments. We also learned how to read a patients blood pressure and got alot of experience with reading x-rays and ultrasounds. After work we went back to the house for lunch. At about 4:30 we headed to the Indian Habitat Center for a presentation we were invited to by the founder of the school we are working at. Savitta Daat founded the Prakash Deep school quite a few years ago when she saw two young boys picking garbage on the side if the road and decided to pick them up and start a school. This is even more impressive considering her qualifications. Savitta is an amazing woman and it is truely an honor to be able to work for her. She has her doctorate in Literature, has written a book about the nuclear situation in Pakistan, and before she founded the school she was considered the most intelligent woman in the Indian Army. The presentation was the first screening of a film by a young Indian film maker who just shot this movie about Prakash Deep. It is called "A Drop of Light". It was a very beautiful film and we were able to meet him as well as a few other people such as the President of the Trust for the school, and several highly respected Indian journalists. After the presentation we went back to the house for dinner with the family. The next morning we went to the hospital again. This time we got to help with the medicine. We were able to assist with inserting IVs and we were taught how to change the IV bags and how to transfer the medicine from their boxes and inject them into the IV bags. After a few times with help, we were able to read the charts and inject the medication by ourselves. When the medicine had all be distributed we went downstairs to assist Dr. Rahoul with consultations again. I was able to examen a man for appendicitis, which came out positive, and I was also able to examen a baby who ended up being very dehydrated and underweight, and she was also anemic. The past few days have been very rewarding and I have learned many new things. I was planning to travel to Rishikesh and Haridwar this weekend but it is not going to work out now. We are now planning to go back to Delhi and do more sightseeing and shopping as well as check out the cinema! Today is a holiday, Eid, so the projects are closed. We are in the house for now spending some time together and planning our weekend!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Just got back from a beautiful Temple about 2 miles from where I am living. Pauline, Allison, and I walked there together after work. It is all white with Gold designs on the top and sides. It has pillars and elephant carvings and a long walk way leading up to the steps. Inside, there are different sections of the walls that each have statues of a different Hindi God. There are also murals along the back walls that tell stories about the Gods. I will post pictures of the outside soon. This morning we left the house around nine and walked to the school. The school has about 250 students, both boys and girls, split up into 3 centers in the city. The children that attend this school are the children of city workers who would have to roam the streets all day if they did not have the school to go to. It is all open but inclosed in a fence. It is a fairly large area, all dirt, and all the classes are along the edges of the fence and in the corners. Today I started with standard 4. I taught a drawing class and then a science class. This is a group of 14 students. The school does not know their ages because they have no birth certificates so the put them into classes by their ability. After Standard 4, I went to Standard 5 and helped them study for their science exam. I also began teaching Standard 6 their next chapter of science. They have classes from 9-12:30. They have to be there at 8 and they are fed lunch and leave at around 1 or 1:30 depending on the weather. Tonight Justin, Pauline, Allison, and I plan to eat dinner, play cards and watch The Office. Sounds like home for all of us! Tomorrow I will be going to the Hospital with Pauline and after we will finish planning our weekend trip to Haridwar and Rishikesh!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hope everyones day went well! This morning around 7 I left for a different host family in a seperate part of Faridabad. I will stay here for a few weeks because it is closer to the street children project that I will be working on. If I enjoy it I can stay here longer. If not I will go back to Kranti and Dr. Bandhu's house and work on a new project. Justin and Allison live in this house and there is another girl from Belgium coming later in the day. This house in a little smaller but it is still nice. It is in an area that is more of the slums and there are more people than where I was before. Everything here is very different from home. A few things I have noticed are that they drive on the other side of the road, there are no stop signs and barely any traffic lights, there are cows, monkeys, dogs, and goats that walk in the road all the time, and they have no problem putting 5 or 6 people on one motorcycle. I also found it funny that they have no problem with the possibility of hitting a person or a dog... but they slow down and go to the other side of the road if there is a cow near their car. Today is much hotter than yesterday already and it was not raining this morning. Yesterday it was very sad to see kids in the streets who can only shower or brush their teeth when it is raining. Many families live in tents made of sticks and tarps along the sides of the roads or in lots set up in fields. Many of  them also run market stands out of their tents during the day. Allison and I are going to the slum school today and I am very excited to meet the new children! I will post more pictures of the children and the city soon.
Goodmorning Everyone! The first set of pictures are up on my facebook and I will put some on here soon. They are from Delhi, the India Gate, Quitab Minar, and the Orphanage. The rain eventually stopping late this morning so we did not get to the slum school. We went back to the orphanage/school that I went to on Saturday. Today we helped the kids with their ABC's and numbers 1-10. Most of them are doing very well!! They love to be a school and are always very excited to see us. When we arrive in the morning the class always stands up, waves, and yells "Goodmorning!!!" and then they all say hi to us a few times and show us their books and bags and what they brought that day. The children were all very interested in the bracelets that I bought and took them right off my wrists. They all loved to be held and will run right over to you when it is lunch time or when class is over. A few have drawn me pictures and some of the older girls speak English very well and come over and ask me what my name is, where I am from, and how old I am. They also love to give me the same information about them. After we left the orphanage we came home and had lunch. Then I helped a young girl (from an orphange right behind Dr. Bandhu's house) study for her upcoming exams. Then Jayati gave me a quiz from one of her school books. I am pretty good with art, history, music, literature, and important people...but I need to brush up on my Indian history! I am not sure what I will be doing tomorrow but hopefully it will not be raining and I will be able to go to the slum school and teach there!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hope everyones night is going well! I just finished breakfast and now its time for work. We were planning on going to the school for the slum children today but the school is open and its raining pretty hard. We will wait until 9 and if the rain has stopped we will go to the slum school and if not we will head to a different school. School here runs all year with a month long vacation in summer and a week long vacation around christmas time. They leave their houses at about 7am and it runs from about 7:15am to 12pm and they come home and study and do their homework before playing with their friends and doing their chores. I will post more about the slum children and school as soon as I find out!
Hi Everyone! Sorry it took so long for the first post. I love it here so far! I arrived at the house in Faridabad around 1:30 Saturday morning. The next morning was straight to work in the orphanage. I was able to sit in a kindergarten age classroom and listen to their lessons and then help them with letters, sounds, and nursery rhymes. They loved the bracelets I was wearing, so good thing I brought tons for them! Right now it is just me, Marian (From Belgium), and Justin (From Miami) in the house. A few others are on weekend trips and will return tuesday. After we finished at the orphanage we came back to the house and had lunch. We all needed to change money so we called a rickshaw driver and headed to the Faridabad mall. It's fairly close and I can get anything I need there. It's like a mall mixed with a walmart. Today Marian and I left at 8am for a tour around Delhi. I am living about and hour outside the city. It was raining a little bit, but it felt good considering how hot it was! We were able to visit The Lotus Temple, The India Gate, Quitab Minar, and a few shops and markets along the way.  I'm off to have dinner now and I am working in the Orphanage again tomorrow and I have photos from today to post, so hopefully I will be able to do that when I return home tomorrow!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Finally landed in Amsterdam! It's almost 8am here and at 11:20 I board the last flight and head to India!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Down to a week before departure! Right now I am just packing and working on last minute details.