It has been a hectic two weeks with a mix of emotions. I spent all of last week in Karawara trying to finish all of my projects and activities before I had to say goodbye. Alfa received a new intern through a rural development internship program. Her name is Sandra and she hails from Nagaland which is an eastern state of India. Lucky for me her primary language is English and she is fluent in Hindi! I can’t tell you how excited I was because she was basically my unpaid translator for the last two weeks. It was really nice to have someone in the village that understood my jokes and liked the same music. She was a valuable resource for Alfa especially during our English lessons. We taught classes to young boys and girls everyday at Sanjha Manch and it was a blast. The kids were very mischievous, but they reminded me of my bad behavior as a kid. I like to think that I have an intimidating yelling voice that I learned from my father. The only problem is when I yell to get their attention; they just laugh and stick their tongues out at me. When it came to Sandra, they feared her more than anything. They always listened to her and never misbehaved. I don’t understand that logic.All in all, the English classes were great. It was amazing to see how quickly they picked up the different words and phrases we taught them. I couldn’t believe they were able to learn the entire alphabet, speaking and writing, in only one class. I was so happy that I was able to work with these kids for all of these lessons.
The first half of my internships consisted of making reports and sitting at a desk all day, but the past few weeks I was able to do a lot of activities with the kids. Alfa has worked really hard to gain the trust of these children and it has paid off. They are more willing to visit the office and participate in any type of activity we are hosting. This is really important for our creative education project. Even though we still haven’t heard back from CRY or NFI about funding, we are implementing different aspects of the projects to get them started. I was sad to have to say goodbye to all of my new friends in Karawara. When I first arrived I felt uncomfortable walking around and trying to integrate with the community. The language barrier was really tough for me to overcome and I felt like everyone only saw me as an outsider. During my last week there I realized how genuine and sincere all of these people are. They welcomed me into their homes on a daily basis and truly wanted to get to know me and my culture. I built strong relationships with many of the people even though it was difficult to communicate with them. One of my best friends actually turned out to be one of my students, Tusara. He came to the office on a daily basis and caused mischief left and right. I definitely provoked a lot of this mischief, but we still always had fun. He was really sad to see me leave so I promised him that I would return for Lokesh’s wedding in the next two years. He was excited to hear that so I must make sure that I keep that promise.
Lokesh was another person that was I didn’t want to say goodbye to. I will still see him this week, but when I left I knew that meant it was the last time I would be working with him and Alfa. He taught me a lot about patience, friendship and genuine kindness. I severely underestimated his abilities when I first arrived in Karawara and he showed me how much a valuable asset he is to Alfa Educational Society. The organization would not exist without him and the immense amount of time and resources that he puts into it. We had some great times hanging out and working together; I’m really going to miss him and his town. I apologize for the somber blog today, so on a lighter note, I am awesome at cricket. I finally got to play a full game in the village and by the end of the game they referred to me as the Barry Bonds of cricket. I was hitting sixes (homeruns) all over the place and was a dominant force within the game. I may have exaggerated that just a little bit, but none of you were there so we will just pretend that is how it went down. I can’t wait to see everyone back home! I think the first thing I am going to do is hit up the nearest Chipotle. I heard about the “heat wave” that is hitting the Midwest right now. I’ve spent my entire summer in a heat wave so bring it on!