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Dancing and thunderstorms.

I just realized I didn't finish the last blog post. Sorry to leave you hanging! I meant to say I am really excited for cold air and mountains! Every day when I open my closet, I promise my hoodie I'll wear it soon! Speaking of cold air...the temperature here in Chandigarh is getting to be much more bearable. During the day it is usually 30 degrees, but gets cooler at night. You still don't need a sweater after dark, but it's pleasant to be out at night.

I've had a wonderful past few days. Monday was our first day volunteering at Pustak school. It was quite interesting. Ireally enjoyed it. My group was doing an english language lesson which involved some singing of head and shoulders, flash cards, then a game I like to call "I say a body part, you touch it to the wall". All in all it was really fun. The kids had alot less english knowledge than we thought. I let the girls in my group do alot of the talking stuff (because they spoke hindi) but I played the game with the group. I am amazed at how much I was able to communicate to these young, rambunctious children without speaking the same language. It was all communicated through actions and enthusiasm. The one thing I found sad was seeing the really young children ( 9 month olds ) in school becaue there was no one else to look after them.

Monday night, we went to Navrati, which is a Gujerati festival where you do garba dance (there are pictures of it on my facebook). We went with Reema and Pooja (who do garba dance competitively in Vancouver) and the boys from our group. Garba dance is really fun, and you do it with sticks in a circle. I'm not quite sure how else to explain it, but beleive me, it was great fun!! The ground was really dry, and we were dancing on dry grass, so it was really dusty. When we got home, amber and I cleaned our faces with cotton pads, and it was disturbing how much dust was stuck to our faces. Our noses - well let's just say we're still getting the dust out.

Tuesday we had a SFU session at Mati's house. I love these sessions. We usually start with a check-in to see how everyone's doing. Something I really appreciate about this group is our honesty with each other (they're very much camp like). Later that afternoon, Amber and I hosted a "tea party" at our house. We made fresh vegetables, pb and j sandwitches, and frenchfries. Comfort food much? It started thundering and lighteninging soon after 5, and at around 7, there was hail the size of grapes falling. Soon it turned to hail, and I gathered up some people to go for a walk with me. I think there was about 5 of us who went out. The rain was absoloutely wild. The streets were rivers which went up to my ankles. We went to the park across the street and played in the puddles. There are badminton courts that are usually mard clay, but with the rain turned into slippery spots. It was kind of like walking on ice. We played in that for a while, then Natahan and Caitlin decided they wanted to slip and slide in it. I'm sure it was fun, but I wasn't quite up for it.

Today was also really pleasant. We went to Sikhya school - a school also geared towards kids from the slums, but with many, MANY more financial resources than Pustak. We're doing a photo project with the kids where they get a camera and go out and take pictures of their homes. We, as a group, weren't too keen on the project, but the group last year did it and the school asked for it again. It was really interesting talking to my two students. They were involved in a UNICEF (?) project aimed at eliminating poverty. There are some very interesting, and inspiring programs happeneing here in India. We then had lunch with some of the younger kids. The ones I sat with had just learned colours and shapes, so our whole conversation was me pointing at things, and they told me the colours and shapes. From there we went to Panjab University for our first session with the education students there. It was all quite formal, but I really enjoyed the discussion. The session was a discussion in small groups about issues youth face in Canada and India. It was so broad that I thought it would be frustrating, but I really got alot out of our discussion. The students there were really great, and I really liked interacting with people my own age from India, instead of just kids and older adults. I'm really excited for the next session we have with them!

Well, on Friday we are going to Dharamshala and Manali for 10 days. I don't know that I'll write here until I get back.

I hope all is well!! I'm glad to hear the Vancouver strike is somewhat over. Someone tell me about the deal? Was it an ok settlement?

I look forward to hearing from you all!!!

xoxo jess

Posted by jchapelski 08:32

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Hey Jess
Glad the weather is cooling down for you. I know your hoodie misses you, it would be very happy here in Vancouver with the first signs of frost this morning. The last couple of nights have been those amazing cool, crisp, clear & invigorating evenings with an amazing full moon lighting your way! (...in other words...enjoy the warmth while you have it!)
Your comments about communicating with language barriers is so true. Smiles, laughter and caring mean the same in every language. Keep up the great work.
As for the strike, while some rinks are up and running, others will still be a while yet. It's all good...heading in the right direction.

Enjoy your time!

Miss you lots!
Melissa

by camel spin

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