Trip Start Jun 28, 2009
33Trip End Aug 07, 2009
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Where I stayed
The chalk art on the ground is ubiquitous at the schools, and again, I noticed plenty of swastikas in this art form
We enjoyed a super cool road trip out of the city and into the mountains- I was surprised that the slums stretched for miles out of Pune. The countryside was enchanting with small farm plots and cows that had been specially marked with bright pink or purple chalk. Here in the country we were guests at a Kasturba Gandhi Memorial Trust shelter for orphans and destitute families. The children here were very friendly and seemed to be having fun. What a difference between this shelter and the orphanage (where the respective staffs seem to take their children on as their own) compared to the joyless, prison-like madrasa we visited in Delhi!
My most uncomfortable moment so far- you know, there aren’t really restrooms for women (dudes just pee on a wall) in most of these place were visiting. Those of you who know me well can imagine the particular challenges I face! Anyway, I really had to go at this shelter and our tour guide seemed to think it was no problem. A young girl who spoke no English led me to a bathroom-like stall- but inside there were only three buckets, each one partially full
Next we got celebrity treatment at a rural public school- about 200 girls sat in incredibly neat and ordered rows to receive us. There were sayings in English painted everywhere in the school’s courtyard: “work is worship” and “old is gold” for example. The students sang beautifully for us, and then we sang a friendship song back for them- I love international teacher diplomacy! We received a fond farewell at the end- again, none of the tyranny and painful shyness we saw at the madrasa.
I’m having big problems with the computers in our Pune hotel. Hopefully I can get today’s pictures loaded soon.