THE INDIA FILES – 04/09/06

we are consantly invited to things in the college! lecturers seem to see the westerners comming to their talk as like a little bonus! we stick out as in andhra pradesh westerners are extremely rare. Sugati who is our representitive Bharavi’s wife came to see us yesterday at the college with 2 oher volunteers, Hannah and Katie who we discovered have been just down the road all this time! it was great to see and talk to them! katie and i also got up at 5.30 am yesterday and went to sunday mass at 6.30am. i think i am going to have to have a fast course in catholisism. it is very difficult to understand the bishop because the think india accent combined with the microphone/sound system is hard to interpret but more than anything it was good to have a well fanned place to sit and get out of thew college! the bishops house is huge and very ellaborate and there are beggars outside by the cathedral. it seems very sad that the church buildings have obviously had so much money spent on them yet there is poverty all around. sugati told us some of the other volunteers have already seen katie and i on tv (and we hadnt even been here a week!) we went to an indian classical and western music thing which was sooo interesting and really uplifting to here some music! (another thing we were invited to by the teachers/professors here, this one we were invited to on our first day) there were cameras there and they always home in on us cos were odd but itsquite nice really! im thinking the best thing to do is just nothing, just ignore it and not look like were posing! we are bond to be on the tv again today as yesterday we went down to the atheist centre (which is where hannah and katie are) for a memorial service for Sugati’s grandma. she was a remarkable woman! she was 93 when she died and the banner said ‘social reformer, atheist leader and freedom fighter’. this community is lovely – family and community are so improtant. our catholic Sister Principal spoke, as did many didfernt religious and humanist leaders. atheists and catholics live and work for the community together. all sugati’s female family have studied at Maris stella, despite comming from the atheist background. i dont know what religion Bharavi and sugati are, but they have christian posters on their walls. hanna katy katie and i also went to the supermarket yesterday! we have a squat toilet and wash with a bucket and jug (with the mosquitoes – they go wherever there is water and it gets hotter) so buying shampoos etc has made thsi experience nicer! im getting used to the facilities and they dont make me so sad now. i used to cry because these ppl live like this al the time. the supermarket was very busy at 8pm and it was a really fun experience! (i felt like a local!) today we are trying to get smeone to take us clothes shopping (i only have one pair of trousers and sister warden told me in a roundabout way that i look like a scvruff this morning!) but we are always told ‘tomorrow’ this is a word that has no meaning. tomorrow never comes! we also need to go to the police to register. another fun thing that happened yesterday – we discvered there is a tv in a common room upstairs! there were about 30girls huddles round this old tv.its nice becuase its much more sociable here and tv is appreciated more. it started to rain and the power went off (as it does all the time, its 12.15 and already the power has gone off about 3 times today, none reacts when the power goes off) so we sat around talking and then the power came back on and everyone suddenly turned round to watch!

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