Hey y’all, this is Mitchell checking in.
This morning we went to the main anganwadi in Kalol and we met some of the children that regularly attend. We attempted to sing some songs (in Gujarati…) and teach them nursery rhymes from home. It is common that we are the first foreigners that many children (and even the elderly in some rural areas) have ever seen. Stranger anxiety seems to effect a few children when we first start start working with children but they eventually become comfortable with us. Before our team split up into groups we spent some time coloring, playing games, doing puzzles, and talking with children. On occasion Mike was left alone with a group of younger kids and their true excitement was made evident as they climbed around the windows, wrestled, and ran to the shoe box to sneak on their sandals. It brought back memories of primary school, where normally-docile students would go crazy when the teacher left the room for a minute. Mike thought back to his camp counselor days and tried his best, but it’s hard to control a group of 3 to 6 year-old kids who speak an entirely different language.
After the visit at the anganwadi we broke off into groups to interview locals about their health and how water is acquired and used each day. We learned that some people boil their water and some find that it is not worth the time and effort. Jon, Brianna, and I went to two homes and gathered some information about water usage and health. In the meantime, Erica and Zoha were doing similar interviews while Mike remained inside the anganwadi.
After we finished our interviews we picked up Michael and went back to the factory and then to lunch. We ate at a place called Hotel Great, just down the road from Hotel Delight, and up the road from Hotel Supreme. The waiters love to serve us as much food as they can even after we would say “just one scoop please, oh ok, ya.. mmhm that is plenty.” Don’t get me wrong, we love the food and the hospitality; but only in moderation. We are still trying to learn from Viral how to say “no thank you”.
After lunch we came back to the office and completed writing some reports on the interviews. We then packed up and went back to Vadodara. Jon, Erica, and I went to the store and bought a few things and upon returning the entire team finally joined in and we had a stellar abdominal and upper body work out for about 35 minutes. The work out consisted of abdominal exercises, 100+ pushups, 100+ dips, and a lot of laughing.
I also want to add a few observations I (and the team) have had while in India. We now define 85 degrees fahrenheit as cool (like I need a coat kind of cool) and 110 degrees as hot (dripping sweat). The mirror in the bathroom doesn’t fog up because it is always hot. Interesting note: it is not uncommon to give an officer 100-200 INR (around $2.00) to get out of a traffic violation or minor offense. Indian Masala Chai is awesome, as long as there is an ample amount of ginger. I am noticing that it is common to make a clicking noise with you’re tongue when saying no (some children do this when I try to color on the same page as they are, and it is quite funny).