Sunday, June 20, 2010
Team India: The Adventure Begins
After 20 hours of flying and layovers in Vancouver and Hong Kong we arrived in Bangalore at 3 a.m. on June 16th. After a day of rest we went to Asha Kiran Special Needs School. This summer we will be assisting the principal and the teachers at the school. School begins at 8 a.m. each day and ends at 1:30 p.m. At 7:30 a.m. we take the school bus to Asha Kiran, the drive to school is one of our favorite things. The half hour drive takes us through the busy streets and slums of Bangalore. Several times we saw cows in the middle of the street, yesterday there a man walking a camel next to our house. The school teaches kids with a range of special needs; including Down’s syndrome, autism, physical disabilities, and hearing impairment. On Thursday Katie assisted the preschool age kids as they learned to count, name shapes, and know their abcs. The kids at the school are mesmerized by Katie’s golden locks, the teachers had to explain to the them that all of the yellow stuff was her hair; they had never seen blonde hair before. We get a lot of stares from the kids and locals as we are the only foreigners. Class is taught in English. English has become a necessity in the Bangalore, many of the overseas call centers are in the city. The language is used nationally, Rita, the Principal and our host, says that English has “united the country.” All Universities teach in English. Sarah assisted a prevocational class on Thursday. The twelve students learn different life skills and how to sit quietly for periods of time during their first class, breathing exercises. On Friday we helped in the prevocational class, we went on a field trip to the store to teach the students how to write a grocery lists and purchase items. On Saturday we went on a walk to CHM Street where there are a few shops. All of the streets are uneven and are broken and slabs of concrete are missing. Dirt piles and garbage line the streets and people are everywhere and cars constantly honk. From what we can tell there are no real traffic rules, or lanes. There are no stop signs, or working street lights where we live. Walking around the city is an adventure because we constantly have to be aware of ourselves, the cars and motorcycles, the garbage, and the broken uneven streets. A misstep can land you in a four foot ditch between concrete slabs; we thought the streets north of 45th were bad. This weekend we are planning our first shopping excursion to buy traditional Indian clothes and a Sari for the wedding we are attending on July 2nd. We are hoping the clothing will help us to not stick out as much. Sometimes locals ask us where we are from and why we have come. In our daily walk around the park next to our house a few elderly gentlemen talked to us about our trip to Bangalore and their kids in the States.