THE INDIA FILES – 21/11/06

sorry i havent been in touch for a while, life in India as become very mundane! Teaching at the college is going well. I think i have settled into my role as a teacher now and have figured out what level the students are at. When i compare the level of english of my students to most of Andhra Pradesh, they’re not doing too badly, but when i compare them to people in places such as Bangalore, i know i’ve got a lot of work to do! The main issues are confidence and independent thinking, so with my more advanced (english medium) students i have them working in groups on plays, which i’ve borrowed from the library. The idea is to get them confident with having a conversation – speaking and responding – but without having to think of their own words. So as you can see, they have been nicely subjected to me interests(!) but they seem to be enjoying it! I’ve even had requests for Shakespeare, but Hardy’s langauage was much too difficult (the library has a great collection of classics, books that crumble in your hand, but contemporary works have been a bit more of a skill to find!) so perhaps we may manage Shakespeare nearer the summer…SKCV has been full of the excitement of welcoming home Patarji (‘father’) or Matthew, the founder of SKCV. He has been in hospital in Manchester for many months (where he is originally from) after an accident whilst fundraising in the UK. He was very unwell and told the boys at the village that it was the thought of them that made him better. He said that at his wellcoming at the boys village on Bonfire Night (sadly its not celebrated here but my classes have all heard about it!), where the boys did an amazing fire dance. Lots of small boys in synthetic clothing swinging lit petrol-soaked sticks and older boys standing in the middle swigging parafin and spitting it on the flames…you have to love the relaxed indian attitude! no-one was hurt and the boys loved it, so perhaps our British health and safety has gone beserk?We also took part in a mela for ‘children from difficult situations’ with the girls from SKCV, in which we walked through the streets of Vijayawada with a thousand street kids and orphans calling for child rights, shouting things like ‘adults got to work, children go to school’. On tuesday night we also watched and judged the girls fashion show, where they paraded their new outfits, donated by a Vijayawada store. they were very excited, dancing about in their smart new clothes….Oh, and I wore a sari! i am going to start wearing them more often, when i figure out how to tie it myself!Finally, here’s something new… I’ve been ill again, and narrowly avoided having to go to hospital, since the thought of indian hospital doesnt fill me with joy! Being ill in India is horrible, and they want to fill you up with tablets and send you to hospital! The reason we get ill so much is because our diet is appauling, but our desk officer, Laura, is comming this week so i hope this is one of the things she will sort out.I came back from the fashion show quite ill and was called out of my evening class by Aunty, who took me to another Aunty where i was sat on a step and circled with salt. I gather, from information gleemed from many people, that this was done because people would have seen me in my sari and been jealous and cursed me, and that was why I was ill. This is an Andhra superstition. Stranger things have happened in India and these ladies have a lot of love and wanted to help, so I just sad there, and strangely, it didnt feel too unusual!If you pray, please pray that Laura will sort out all the problems that have arisen with this being a new project. I find life hard out here still and there are little things that could be sorted with our food and accomodation in particular that would make things easier, as well as things that need clarifying to do with our work. Your prayers are always very much appreciated and thanks for all your support so far!

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