Calling All Paparazzi, We’ve Found Some Lucky Blues!

Week two interning with Educate Girls was much less busy but I have still learned just as much. My task for the week was to develop an English teaching model that will start at the beginner level and progress through more advanced lessons. I’ll continue to develop it during my time here and eventually be able to use it on Team Balika volunteers. I have also started English lessons with our Communication’s Officer, Meena. Her English is already very good, so week one was finding what needs help yet and reviewing the basics of grammar.

My other task for the week was to paint signs and posters that we used for the Republic Day parade that took place on Sunday, January 26th. Educate Girls was involved in a rally and to present during the big parade that happened in the afternoon on Republic Day. On Saturday we all worked into the night painting, working out costumes and reviewing dance steps. Having a vast dance background, I was excited to get my first official lessons in bollywood dance. I had 20 plus people stay at the guest house with me Saturday night and we all were awake by 6:30am getting ready for the parade.

The Parade was alot of fun but at the same time very overwhelming. I now know what it’s like to be Justin Timberlake or Kate Middleton being bombarded by paparazzi. There was  constantly a camera on me even if I was simply standing there doing absolutely nothing. A friend was pretending to interview me about the situation and instantly a swarm of 30+ people surrounded me. I was ushered out of the circle by another friend. Another time my director had to step in and help usher the people away. So, I have my own body guards. They all tell me that only the luckiest people are blessed with blue eyes (Sweden must be on whole different level then). ;) The experience was great and all the hard work paid off for we won FIRST out of all the floats and displays in Sirohi.

 

There's a popular cereal that's called "foreign bride" in Hindi. This was my name for the night.

There’s a popular cereal that’s called “foreign bride” in Hindi. This was my name for the night.

 

EG's display for the parade

EG’s display for the parade filled with dancers, posters and Team Balika following behind

 

Educate Girls Wins First!

Educate Girls Wins First!

 

Akanksha and I with our trophy. The master behind the whole plan.

Akanksha and I with our trophy. The master behind the whole plan.

This week was filled with learning more about Indian traditions and customs. From getting to experience a wedding processional through the city with the groom on a horse, to the parade and various costumes and regional dress my mind has once again been filled with wonderful, first hand knowledge and experiences. Constantly living, learning and living that lucky, superstar lifestyle! ~Anna

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.” ~Mark Twain

Camels and Elephants and Monkeys, Oh my!

What a whirl wind of a first week. Sirohi has greeted me already with exotic animal sightings, festivals, parades, field visits and teacher’s trainings. I have already been involved in so many things and I have been here only one week. My week has been filled with getting to know colleagues, the town and simply how to live. It’s a whole new way of living from customs, food and how to get around. I have 3 meals a day prepared for me and my room cleaned by my caretaker.  I am interning with a Non-Government Organization called Educate Girls. They strive to bridge the gender gap in education and learning. They have created a structure of teaching called the Creative Learning Technique that introduces Math, Hindi and English is a way of hands-on learning using flash cards, charts and the like. It is a 15 minute walk to work in the morning but it’s acceptable to show up between 9:30 and 10:00am. Time is not of true importance for this relaxed lifestyle. It’s quiet nice to not be rushed and ruled by the ticking hands of a clock.

This week I went on a field visit to a school in Pindwara and got to see CLT in action. That afternoon we visited a small begger community to continue in the negotiation of sending their girls to school. Since the daughter’s are already engaged (even at age 6) the father’s see no need in educating the girls.We have a long ways to go in the relationship but progress has already been had. I also got the chance to attend 3 days of teacher’s training. The trainings were required by government and were put on by Educate Girls in order to introduce CLT in the schools. On the third day I found myself sitting in the middle of the circle at lunch time and being peppered with questions about American culture and the education system. It turned into a time of singing and dancing even though I had no idea what I was doing. They brought me candies and sweets to enjoy while in the meeting, they knew the way straight to my heart.

The parades were amazing. 3 festivals of different religions fell on the same day and it stayed peaceful amidst the pride.

The parades were amazing. 3 festivals of different religions fell on the same day and it stayed peaceful amidst the pride.

Mid-day meal at the school where I got to engage in some very good discussion with teachers

Mid-day meal at the school where I got to engage in some very good discussion with teachers

The teachers also wanted their picture taken :)

The teachers also wanted their picture taken :)

Meeta, a Team Balika member, engaging in the Creative Learning Technique with young students

Meeta, a Team Balika member, engaging in the Creative Learning Technique with young students

Each village gets to choose their own slogan with Educate Girls

Each village gets to choose their own slogan with Educate Girls. This is the EG symbol.

Teacher's training with the best Master trainer in the world

Teacher’s training with the best Master trainer in the world

This is my guest house where I have it all to myself!

This is my guest house where I have it all to myself!

My companions at the guest house

My companions at the guest house

My first day at the office this guy was working right outside

My first day at the office this guy was working right outside

What a welcome to India, I couldn’t have asked for a better first week of my internship! Packed with excitement and joy, amazing food and people, unusual wild animals and sights but this is my life now and I choose to embrace it. ~Anna

“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgivness, selfishness and fears.” ~Ceaser Pavese

 

Houston, the plane has landed

Safe and Sound. Finally to the guest house after a very long but successful journey! My itinerary consisted of some pretty long flights doubled with being bused around the airport having no idea what’s happening, but moved along with the flow of everyone else. When I saw my baggage come through in Udaipur my heart was at ease and I was left with just one hurdle to jump, finding my contact in the crowd of people who was supposed to be wearing a yellow shirt. I walked out the main doors and standing there was my India Study Abroad Center Contact and the director of my internship site. We handed me a goodie bag and we were off!

At that moment started my introduction into India with the famous driving/ road situation. Zooming along were huge trucks painted with little tunes for horns that are constantly playing, autotrickshaws piled with people to the point they are sitting on top and hanging off the back, motorcycles and taxis swerving in and out of traffic and then add in the stream of camels walking along the highway. It’s the biggest game of “chicken” you’d ever seen and the bigger car doesn’t always win.

 

The market in town where all the shopping is done

The market in town where all the shopping is done

The top word says, Sirohi. That's where I was standing. It made me giggle :)

The top word says, Sirohi. That’s where I was standing. It made me giggle :)

Learning to navigate through lots of people and cows crowding the market

Learning to navigate through lots of people and cows crowding the market

It’s already a lovely place and my guest house is wonderful. Today many people already came by the guesthouse to meet me. Tomorrow morning I start off to my first day of work with Educate girls. Thankfully my ISAC contact is still here with me so I don’t get lost walking to work. Goodnight for now and till next time!

Open minds and open hearts make room for growth and change. Striving to live by this day to day. ~Anna

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”~Gandhi