After getting to know more about the school and each individual class, I decided to stick with class 7B. The first time we went into that room I knew that these were the kids that I wanted to spend the next six weeks with. Within the first part of our stay I have already been able to learn so much from these kids. This past week at school has been very busy with preparation for the holiday this weekend. The 26 of Jan is is their Republic Day and a very important time for them. On this day each class will do a presentation (drama, song, dance, etc.) so there is a lot to get ready. My class is doing a dance with dumbbells and then a short drama which they have been working hard to perfect. Along with helping the 7th standard students prepare, I have also been able to get some sneak peeks of other classes, and I am so excited to see how it all comes together. Earlier in the week when we had some free time a couple of girl from my class took me to their dance practice. while rehearsing for this weekend they took some time to stop and teach me part of it. Being able to see some of their culture through dancing was super awesome. Tomorrow at school is the final day before the holiday, so we will be busy pulling all of the last minute details together and perfecting the dance. Some of the girls in my class are also planning to do mehndi on their hands and feet, as it is a tradition to do before holidays.
Last week, we spent a couple days at the Anubhuti City School going around to every classroom to see what it was like. While I loved every room I went into, something about the fifth grade kept pulling me back in. I decided that this would be the best fit for me and that I wanted to spend the rest of my time here in this classroom. Teachers are called “Akka” and we are called “Didi,” which means “respected sister.” So for my fifth graders, they call me “Didi Abbi.” I have spent many of my first days observing the classroom and trying to learn the names of my 30 kids, and trust me, they are not easy names! The kids have welcomed me with contagious smiles and always want to show me the work they have done. A couple of my students brought gifts (earrings and bindis) for me to school with hand written notes and envelopes. The whole school had testing this past week so we were able to spend time talking with some of the teachers and seeing pictures of their family. Each day is something new and I am so excited to get to know each of these kiddos and more of the teachers at the school!
We got to spend the first two days of our second week in the school celebrating a holiday called Makrasankranti. At the city school on Monday we had a shortened class schedule and spent the last few hours of the day learning about this special holiday. Makrasankranti is the day that the earth begins it’s northern journey around the sun and the days begin to get longer (the winter solstice). On this day the people of India celebrate by eating treats made of sesame seeds, enjoying sweets, and dressing in beautiful dresses. This holiday is not only celebrated in Maharashtra, but all over India. The kids taught us a new phrase “Tighul ghya goda goda bola” which means eat sweet, talk sweet. On Tuesday the kids at the city school had a day off, so we got to spend our day at the residential school attending their assembly and catching up on school work. Going along with our “eat sweet, talk sweet” phrase for the day we were served a sweet treat with every meal and even gifted some by teachers or students. -Lexi
Hello and welcome to our blog of our journey here in India! To start our trip, we had some troubles at the airport with flight delays but it was soon fixed and we were on our way! From a 14 hour plane ride, cars in the city, to another 7 hour train ride, we finally arrived in Jalgaon where we would be staying for the next six weeks. We were able to settle in to our rooms and get some much needed sleep – thank you Jet Lag. The following day, we were given a tour of the beautiful campus of the Anubhuti Residential School where we have a room in one of the girls’ hostel. We learned more about the residential and city schools, their mission, and their founder, Bhavarlalh Jain. On Monday, we went to the city school for a brief orientation and were welcomed with contagious smiles and laughs. Each grade performed a song or skit to welcome us. We continued the week with getting into a routine of going to the city school and balancing our own school work for online classes. One week in and we have all seemed to fall in love with this beautiful country. We are taking any time possible to rest up for the upcoming week with our kiddos and new experiences.