On Monday morning we drove 1.5 hours to a nearby train station to drop off the guests that came and stayed with us. After saying good-bye and watching their train pull away, Danny, Daddy, Mommy and I began our 1.5 hour drive back to the Home. We ended up taking a 12 hour detour on the way home. They decided to take me to visit a hill station where Daddy did some Bible study and a tiger forest. The drive to the hill station took us right through the city that Mommy attended nursing college at. About an hour later we arrived at the base of the mountain and proceeded to make our way 1101 meters into the sky. This drive also took an incredible amount of time but the view was spectacular, I just wish I had brought my camera. He had a late lunch at one of the resort town’s many restaurants. Daddy showed me the church he used to attend while living here for three months and the bungalow he lived in. After we toured around the top of the mountain we headed down the other side, through a tiger forest. Unfortunately we didn’t see any tigers, but who knows how many saw us.
For English classes this week I did a lot of reviewing with my elementary students, to make sure they didn’t forget some of the stuff we’ve learned a while back. I am proud to say that the 5-6 group is doing very well. Some of things we’ve worked on so far is the difference between “this” and “that”, and “these” and “those”. We’ve also worked on contractions this week. It was difficult for them to say some of the contractions, as they kept saying both words, but they eventually picked it up. They were all able to successfully answer my questions. I’m having the most difficulty with the 1-4 group. They haven’t learned English in school yet so they are behind even the nursery kids. So it is very difficult to teach them, especially then the boys play grab-ass with each other all class long. For my high school group this week I had them complete a few worksheets I had printed out for them. I also had them do a writing assignment for me. I had them write me a story. I told them the title for the story is “Who you are.” There was two parts I wanted them to address in their story. The first part was who you are, I wanted to know village names, family and friends’ names, favorite subjects, games they like to play, etc. The second part was who you want to be. I wanted them to answer the question, “Where will you be in ten years?” This story I wanted written in English, and they did very well, although they all made similar errors. For instance, they would leave out pretty much all preposition words or use them incorrectly. They also would write, “My friend name…” and then list like three or four names. So I corrected them and am going to give them back to them so they can see their errors and then I am going to have them rewrite their stories, correctly.
I’ve been playing a lot of freeze tag with the nursery kids. Once you get tagged by the raj you have to stand with your legs apart and can’t move until someone goes between your legs. This is very difficult for me, I usually end up just tackling them with my shoulder as I try to go under their legs. It’s actually very fun to play. I am like the big prize during this game. Once I get tagged the raj holds on to me so no one can unfreeze me. So since they hold on to me, I decided to hold on to them. I would grab them around the elbows, so they couldn’t touch me with their hands, then someone would crawl between my legs and I would be free. Or, if there were others kids frozen, I would bear hug the raj and let the kids unfreeze all the other kids first.
On Sunday we went to Pandharwani, the village of Priscilla, Rahel, Ashok and Rambhao. Little Suvarna and Prakash came as well as their village is about two km from Pandharwani. Nirmala also came with us, but we didn’t go to her village. Five boys came with us, Laxman, Ishwar, Stavan, Vishwas and Mukesh, to led the worship at the church. We first stopped in Prakash and Suvarna’s village and met the pastor of that village’s church. After that we walked to their house and took the other five members of their family with us to Pandharwani. We already had a packed car, so with the addition of these five and Priscilla’s grandpa, the five older boys and I rode on top of the jeep. That’s how they do it in India. Once we got the village we were greeted by the pastor/Rahel’s father. After the boys messed around and took me to this tree where we ate the fruits from it, it was time for church. It was great seeing our kids singing so well, and Mommy gave the sermon. After church we ate lunch, a very hot and very fresh lunch. After lunch I toured the village and saw some of the children’s homes, like Ashok’s. I got to see the inside of his three-room house. And by three rooms I mean, all three would fit inside my family room. It’s very humbling to see the children’s living conditions. On the way out of the village we again had to ride on top of the jeep. Just outside the village we passed a man on a bicycle entering the village. I yelled, “Bye-bye!” to him. And then I did it to another person, and pretty soon we were all yelling “bye-bye” to everyone we saw. I was, however, disappointed that Rambhao didn’t drive me around in an ox cart as he promised me he would. I told him I was upset with him, but he just laughed.
My tickets are booked, my bags are packed. March 7th Danny and I will leave Nagpur around 17:00 by train and arrive Agra at 8:00 the next morning. Our next train leaves Agra on the 9th at 17:00 and arrives in Pune around 15:00, March 10th. Nothing like a 22 hour train ride through the blister heat without AC. Once we get to Pune I will meet some of Daddy’s family and will then meet one of Danny’s friends. Danny’s friend told him to bring me to Pune so we can have an outing. We hopefully will go to the beach from there so we don’t have to take a ten hour train ride to Goa. Danny and I will then leave Pune on March 15th by bus to Yavatmal. I am very excited about this trip. It should be a lot of fun and I will have great pictures to share. And hopefully I’ll get to ride in an auto rickshaw on this trip.