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Chandigarh

-17 °C

Hello!!

So I don't have any crazy adventures to report on this week...It was a really calm week. I had school stuff to do during the week. We had 2 SFU session, which means we go over to the house where Mati is staying and have school discussions in comfy chairs or around the kitchen table. I always like these days because it's a bit of a refuge from the staring and always being aware of your surroundings. where ever we go, we are always being stared at. I guess whhen I say we, I mean Amber and I (we go everywhere together) Whether we're in a cycle rickshaw, or an auto rickshaw, or walking, everyone turns to look at us. I've found it a bit disconcerting at first, but I can deal with it now. We seem to get alot more attention than others, probably because we're blonde. There's also alot of people that come us to us to talk. They ask where we're from and what our names are. That's about the extent of their english. Being in a closed house with people that we like spending time with is a nice refuge from all that.

This week we also visited 2 schools, Pustak and YPS. YPS is a high end "government school" (what we know as a private school). We went just to go look around. It was quite nice. It was nicer that most public schools in Canada. We also visited Pustak school, which is the one we will be volunteering with a few times during the program. Pustak schools are from an organization, where the schools are located in slum areas. This one is in a slum fairly close to where we live. From the street, you would't know there was a slum because there is a large building hiding it. As soon as you get behind the building, the roads aren't paved, and the houses are just cloth walls proped up my sticks. We walked about 5 minutes through the area to get to the school. It consists of 2 small buildings. One is the creche where the small children go. They were absoloutely adorable. Then there is the regular classroom, where one teacher teachs about 25 5-12 year olds. The number of students is always changing because attendance is usually sparse. These kids' parents are usually servants, and might need the kid to help look after their sisters or brothers instead of going to school. There is also a lack of education around how important going to school evry day is. The parents of these kids don't understand that to get a proper education, the kids need to go to school everyday. We were asking about how long families live in the slums for, and the guy at the schoo was saying that the government will have housing for them in 6 months. Unfortunately, most people will end up in anouter slum, or the same one, because of addiction. The parent who has some sort of addiction (usually the father) insists on selling the house in order to feed that addiction. Basically, they'd rather have their drugs or alchool than a roof over their head. All this being said, I think there are alot of good things the city is doing in order to help these people.

On Friday, we went to an archaeological site in the middle of nowhere. I'll call it "punjabi middle of nowhere" It was really quite interesting. What they were digging up as a buddhist stupa from about 8000 years ago. It was circularin shape with spokes. The biggest circle had 32 spokes, reperesnting the number of teeth humans have. The next circle (inside the biggest one) had 24 spokes, reperenting 24 hours in a day. The next one had 12, for 12 hours a day. In the center as a circle with ashes in it. The general idea, was that these circles represented being human 24 hours a day, 12 months a year, until you are not human anymore, and your ashes sit in the middle. I wish I could tell you where this site was, or what is was called, but I have no idea.

Let's see...what else is new? our group has found a favourite desert place called mocha. It has the most amazing chocolate stuff I've ever had. It's going to be our usual spot when we want to hang out at night. Other than that, this week has been really relazed. We watched 2 bollywood movies this weekend. They're really long. I liked they because they're cheesy, sappy, and have singing and dancing and lots of tears in them. Just my kind of movie!

I'm also getting really excited for our trip to Dharamshala. I'm mostly really excited for

Posted by jchapelski 06:25

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