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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Worlds Apart

There is another Nest Fellow here who will be my roommate for the next two months, Rachna. It's nice to have her with me on this journey to experience with and reflect with. We are staying with the family of the Nest loan facilitator here whose name is Seetha. She is incredibly kind and is always smiling. Her daughter, Swetha, has been our guide to the village. She is a year younger than us and speaks English quite fluently. Swetha is a lot like her mother. She is very lively and joyful, to the point where it is infectious. 

Rachna and I share a bedroom with two single beds and our princess canopy-like mosquito nets. Our bathroom and shower are both outside, and that has taken a little getting used to. It’s just inconvenient when the water decides to go out halfway into your shower. The electricity is the same way. We don’t have air conditioning in this weather but instead, two fans that are good enough except for when the electricity goes out. Rachna and I are pretty good sports about it. We just laugh it off and try to get our minds off the heat by going out to play with the children.

Our little hut is right next to the Narikuravar gypsy hostel for children whose parents are away trying to make money or whose parents whereabouts’ are unknown. The children are incredibly joyful and full of life. I just don’t know how they manage to play outside in this horribly hot weather. I see the boys playing cricket and the girls jump roping sometimes. They frequently look at us, smile, and yell HI in their cute little voices. They are good children. When Swetha’s grandmother tells them to fetch something, or clean a plate, the children promptly listen and obey without any fuss. This really amazes me and makes me think of American children that I see at home, making a scene at the gas station for not being able to buy a toy.

As we ate our first dinner, Swetha had a very fun time watching me. It was my first time eating food with my hands and she could tell right off the bat that I was not used to eating without a spoon or fork. She exclaimed to me that conversely, eating with her hands is all that she knows and that she wouldn't know what to do if a fork were placed in front of her. This made me think:  where you come from speaks volumes for our individual journeys because what we know will shape and direct how we feel about each new thing that we experience. 

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