Our first few days here are flying by. There is still so much to see, hear, taste, smell, learn and experience. All 5 senses are doing their job here in India, I wonder if we’ll ever (after 4 months) get used to it. I guess not, there will just be too many things to experience and try .
Slowly we get to know the entire routine of the boys. Their days are just as tiring as ours. They wake up early at 6, get dressed and ready, have prayer time, have breakfast and go study for an hour. All before going to school. They go to school from 9 till 4 and study English, Tamil, Science (Physics, Biology and Chemistry) and Social studies(Geography and History). As soon as they get home from school, they first wash their school uniform. 90 boys in a row, all washing their uniforms by hand, no matter which age they are, the youngest work just as hard as the oldest.
Next, it’s time for games! We mainly play volleyball, square ball (Trefbal for our Dutchies) and basketball. The boys are really really good. So unfortunately we couldn’t impress them with our volleyball and square ball skills. However, I did impress them with my (unknown) basketball skills, hehe. First, we just tried getting the ball in the net. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. I scored! Next, we tried to get the ball in the net with our eyes closed. Kinda difficult, but I scored! The boys challenged me to score backwards, with my back to the net. Guess what? I scored again! All the kids were screaming and jumping. ‘GOOD JOB SISTER, GOOD JOB.’
After one hour of sports, we all clean. All the boys will use a palm tree broom and clean the classrooms, hallways, sleeping rooms etc. The boys aren’t fluent in English, but the conversations are improving. During the cleaning session, I gave them a small 30 minute geography class, just for fun. We talked about the Netherlands, it’s neighbor countries and that Thailand isn’t one of them lol.
After cleaning, they’ll wash themselves. Which is an interesting routine. They all grab their little buckets from their beds and go stand in line. They throw a bucket of water over them, use some soap and then go in groups of 10 in a big pool which is used as a bath. Later, they study for another hour, have dinner, say a prayer and go to bed.
The next day, it happens alll over again. I absolutely love seeing them as happy and enthusiastic every day. You should see their faces when they run out of school! They are sooo excited for the games.
I’m also slowly getting better at all the names. If you think learning 90 Dutch names is hard, try learning 90 Indian names. The spelling and pronunciation seems impossibleee. Some of them fooled me, this one boy told me his name was ‘Souriya,’ which was an easy one to remember, so for 2 days straight I called him ‘Souriya.’ Last night, I talked with Father Maria about ‘Souriya’, and he responded with ‘We don’t have a Souriya, Souriya is a very famous actor in India, he fooled you hahaha’. From now on I’m a lot more careful with trying to learn names hahaha. This afternoon some boys were fooling around and calling each other ‘Sunday Market’, ‘Mountain’ and ‘Pollo chicken’. I told them they better not fool me again, lying is bad for their karma. 😉 So from now on they are honest. I hope haha.
Being on the project and seeing the boys has been amazing for the past few days. However, on Thursday night, we had a night off. A night which was spent very well! Kar and I got in a TukTuk with the 2 of us and drove to the sisters, one of the sisters took us out to go shopping! This was A-MA-ZING. We drove to the busiest street in Pondi, and saw again a ton of lights, people, motor scooters, tuktuks and a lot of people yelling and honking. However, the sister told us the shops in this street were way too expensive, so she would take us to another street.
We ended up walking through a narrow, small, dark almost deserted and sketchy alley and ended up on a huge street market. There was a new scent every second, ‘ugh wet dog’, ‘yum fresh bananas’, ‘iehl dead fish’, ‘bleh urine odor’, ‘hmm fresh flowers’, ‘ugh a sweaty scent’, ‘yam incense’. Walking through the fruit market was fun, we saw red bananas, tried yellow oranges and bought a ton of fresh, cheap fruit. Did anyone know red bananas and oranges that aren’t orange are a thing? Well, now you know! However, the highlight was the Sari market. It was surreal! We were surrounded by so many colors, glitters and fresh flowers. After looking and touching allll of them, we finally made a choice! I got a beautiful light blue, fancy sari which brightens up my eyes and is specifically for special occasions. I couldn’t help myself and had to get a ‘casual-but-still-beautiful-Sari’ as well, I picked a red one, which is my Indian version of my ‘Spanish’ flirty dress haha. Although, this isn’t as flowy and flirty, obviously. 😉 That night, we got an Indian sim card as well, so from now on, we’re official Indian citizens with our own Indian phone number, dressed like real Indian women. The only thing that gives it away is our blonde hair, pale skin and the accents. 😉
Anyway, I’ve been talking for way too long. There is just so much to share and tell. I’ll post an update soon!