Tuesday, November 23, 2010

puppies, coffee, crocheting, and hand turkeys galore

I love animals. I love puppies. So when 4 puppies showed up at Buchanan in a box, how could I NOT play with them?

As I reached down to pick up the first one, I could practically hear the voice of the travel nurse at the Alachua County Health Department. I seem to recall some warnings about staying away from stray animals…something to do with diseases, rabies…But that quickly faded away as I held in my hands a fat little black puppy who could have easily been baby Kiba. Let me also mention that I was the only one in the crowd of students and teachers who would touch the puppies. As I did so, they eyed me with a mixture of amusement, bewilderment, and probably a little disgust, too. But I just couldn’t help myself—they were so darn CUTE! For you germaphobes out there, you’ll be relieved to know that I washed my hands afterward.

Last Monday and Tuesday, Buchanan hosted a district-wide ‘exhibition’—basically, the equivalent of a ‘science fair.’ In addition to science-related projects, however, there were also the categories of work experience (what we would think of as handicrafts), math, etc. Students from other area schools, accompanied by their teachers, came to Buchanan to compete. Since classes were canceled due to the exhibition, the Buchanan teachers and I found ways to entertain ourselves. For me, that was helping out at the bake sale—specifically, selling coffee. It was a good opportunity to practice Malayalam numbers. Oru kappi (one coffee), for example, was ezhu (seven) rupees. Randu (two) coffees was pathinalu (fourteen) rupees. It didn’t get much more complicated than that :)

Recently, I decided that Gracy Kochamma (the warden of my hostel) and I needed a bonding activity. She is a sweet, grandmotherly figure with a sense of humor, but she speaks very little English, which really limits our interactions. So, having seen her on multiple occasions knitting, saree embroidering, etc, I asked her to teach me something. Basically it was a great idea—we’ve spent more time together, and I can now officially crochet. I’m making a blanket, and right now it’s about the size of a scarf. I’ve got a long way to go. Perhaps another benefit of this venture on my part is that now that several of the girls have seen me crocheting, they also asked Gracy Kochamma to teach them. We’re a sight to see, me, 6 or 7 girls, and Gracy Kochamma, all on the front porch of the hostel, crocheting away.
My lesson plans for last week/this week have been centered around teaching the students about Thanksgiving. With the younger grades, this has included an art project—that’s right, hand turkeys! After explaining the concept of Thanksgiving (‘Thanksgiving is an American holiday in which we celebrate the things we’re thankful for, like family and friends. A special food eaten on Thanksgiving is turkey. (And then I had to explain what a turkey was, and show a picture)), I had the students name what they’re thankful for. Then, I had them trace their hands, write one thing for which they are thankful in each ‘feather’, and color their hand turkey. The coloring part was definitely an exercise in organized chaos, but it was a fun lesson, both for the students, and me.

Sunday, I went to Jaimol Kochamma’s church for the first time. It’s about an hour away from Buchanan, and required that I take two different buses. There was a considerable amount of concern expressed on everyone’s part about me traveling alone to somewhere I had never been. But armed only with my spirit of adventure, a paper with some directions, and no aversion to asking questions or pantomiming, off I went. And I made it there just fine, and it was a great day :) Jaimol Kochamma’s mother-in-law was hilarious. When asked to guess my age, she thought I was considerably older than I am (a common misconception about Americans, in general—since we are usually taller than Indians, they often think we are older). Upon being informed of my real age, she was at first incredulous, then thought it was really funny, and then exclaimed, “And your mother let you come to India alone?!” 

"Spread love everywhere you go... let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile." -Mother Theresa

1 comment:

  1. Hi Madison, Just wanted to let you know that we are Thankful for you this Thanksgiving!

    Take Care! Holly