Monday 19th August
The poor guard turned up late this morning (Sunday is his day off but normally he comes here for the night as it’s nicer than his own home) as he was stung while in the fields and has a huge swelling just above his right eye – his eye is nearly closed! I offered him the antihistamines we had bought for the school but he didn’t want – they prefer the witch doctor here over medicines.
We started the morning with Special Programme with Shiv, the same as last Monday, our first day. I like his Special Programmes and the way he conducts them, works well with the kids. First asking who hasn’t had a bath and why, then moving onto news and motives and meditation etc. Next to me I had little Anamika (about 8 years old) who is such a bossy little madam. To be honest she reminds me of myself at that age and I’m pretty sure when I show my father pictures of her he’ll think the same. And the bossy thing also… a little… Anyway she was staring at me the whole hour. Again, this is normal here but she had no shame in leaning over and openly looking at every bit of me. Hehee, she’s a nice kid. After SP, her friend, the beautiful girl, taught me and Javi a special handshake which was so cute! They love it when they show us things and we imitate them, no matter how bad we do it.
We then had English with Chandan. No surprise, Karan was getting everything completely right and correcting his friends work. He’s going to go very far, that one. Chandan was very chatty today, asking about our lives and cultures and jobs, and he asked for my email – I hope he uses it, it’ll be amazing to keep in contact with the teachers, they’re all so brilliant. We’ll see though as they have to go an internet café to use the computer so it’s not like us just tapping into our phones. Next was BBC with Shiv but the electricity was out so we did another round of telling the time, testing them from what we showed them previously, and they slowly were understanding, it was very satisfying! We ate lunch with Raquel and then had maths with Urmila. This is my little Kajal’s class so I attached myself to her and didn’t let her go. She just constantly smiles all the time, especially when I’m giving her lots of love, and what a gorgeous smile she had. Mi nina.
When the school day finished I arranged with Asha, the lady who cleans Raquel’s house, to bring me in a selection of jewellery tomorrow to have a look at to bring home for the girls (Sofi and Ines, remember the girls I au paired for). She cleans the house here then goes off to sell jewellery in the town – she’s an extremely hard working lady and I have a lot of respect for her, doing her utmost to provide for her family and always with a smile on her face. I still had my camera round my neck from being with the kids and she gestured she wanted a photo. First on her own hehee – they love pictures, are obsessed. Then a nice one with me and then she grabbed Javi’s hand for one with him – so sweet! We both look giants next to her though, big white glowing giants haha.
We relaxed for the next couple of hours as at half past three we’d told Santosh to be ready to go into town with us. Our plan was to buy him some clothes – again, a big treat. Raquel provides everything for the boys but to be taken into town and bought anything by his sponsors is a big deal, and we were looking forward to taking him! So off we went in an autorickshaw and he took us to his favourite clothes shop where he chose a cool purple shirt and some very smart dark trousers. It came to 1600 rupees which sound a lot but works out at around twenty euros. It’s ridiculous. He was absolutely chuffed but again, didn’t show much emotion and we didn’t hear a thank you but we knew exactly how he felt and we felt like very proud parents buying him his first outfit or something! NB: Any emotion you feel in this place is amplified a million times, it’s very tiring, I must say.
We then popped across the road to a shop for kids clothes and I bought a purple flowery dress and four pairs of colourful knickers for Kajal, as we were going to her house tomorrow (excited!). I also bought some sparkly hair clips for her and her five sisters to share, and another box of assorted sweets. When we say sweets here in India it means pastries really – like we’d buy a box of mixed handmade chocolates or pastries or sweet things from a bakery – like that. While we were in town we also bought eggs, onions, potatoes (planning on making a tortilla for the hostel boys, sssh) and lots of big bags of crisps to go with the Sprite (Santosh doesn’t know about the Sprite and we don’t him to keep it to himself about the crisps). The eggs came in a tray of 30 for 20 rupees, that’s like 25cents/20p! Good job though as apparently here the eggs are notoriously bad so we had 30 to be lucky with.
We arrived home and Santosh ran off to the boys room with his goods, no doubt to try and hide them before they wanted to take a look, and we retired upstairs. What a knackering day, again all in 35 degree heat at least. We’ve just had a tasty dinner of mash potato and bindis, these amazing green vegetables, and are ready for bed (it’s not even 9pm). Tomorrow is our last day in this wonderful place, and already I am feeling a permanent lump in my throat.
How the hell do you say goodbye to 150 adorable little faces?