A New City

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September 30th 2010
Published: October 11th 2010
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The city at night
I haven't updated in quite a while... For a change I've been very busy! I arrived in Hyderabad September 16th and was greeted at the airport by two of the sisters/nuns who run the home, and an American! I got a hug and kiss on the cheek from Sister Alice, the mother superior of the orphanage and convent where I'm staying. We ate at Subway in the airport, my first American meal in a month. The sisters had never had a sub sandwich before so they were confused about how to eat it. Hyderabad and Secunderabad, the twin cities of India, are gorgeous. It reminds me a little of San Francisco because it has a lot of hills. It's 1600 feet above sea level. The weather isn't as hot here as it was in Chennai, so that's nice! I'm sleeping in a room in the convent with 5 beds and two bathrooms. It's right next door to the room where the orphan girls stay. There are 10 girls in this home. The youngest is 8 and the oldest girl is 13 years old. The girls are all "street children," meaning they were found by themselves on the street by the police,

The KG kids dancing. The boy in the middle is the one who always has to be near me.
or by the sisters. The sisters do not know their exact ages or their past. They are absolutely wonderful. They speak English very well and love hanging out with me. They are fascinated by my skin because it's so fair. They press on my arms to see the mark they leave when the blood leaves that area, and watch the blood rush back. They love touching my hair because it's, "silky, silky." Lately, we've been dancing during their recreation time. They'll teach me some classical Indian dance, and they'll ask me to show them different styles of dance. So far I've shown them the Cha-Cha, West African, and the Foxtrot. The other night they started singing the Mac arena... They also know the Cupid Shuffle which I thought was hilarious. All of a sudden I heard, "Down, down, do your thing, do your thing" in their accented voices. It was really adorable. Of course, they can never get enough attention. They're always coming up and hugging me or putting their arms around me. I try to give them all as much attention as possible, since they're starving for it.
It's pretty interesting living with sisters. I went to Catholic school

The city I live in now.
for 13 years, but I never had a nun for a teacher. They're really great women, totally devoted to their work and helping raise these girls and get more children off the street. They pray more than anyone I've ever known. They all wake up for mass each day at 6:30 a.m. Every night they have prayer and then rosary for a half hour. They pray at various times throughout the day as well.
The convent also runs a school across the street. I've started teaching in the Lower Kindergarten, which has children ages 3 and 4, and Upper Kindergarten which has children age 5. There's one boy in the UKG class who absolutely loves me. Everytime I walk in the door his eyes light up and he gives me a huge smile. He jumps out of his seat and runs over to me to give me a big hug. He'll follow me throughout the day, always wanting to stand next to me. When I'm in other classrooms, he'll stand by the door and watch me. He's so adorable. One day I was in the front of the classroom and the teacher instructed all the children to stay in their

One of the girls staying in the home. She loves my sunglasses.
spots. (There are 53 children per class, mind you.) He, of course, jumped up to stand by me. She said she was going to deduct points from him for being out of his seat. She asked him, "Should I reduce your marks?" He looked at her and nodded yes. We both laughed. There's one KG teacher that I've grown pretty close to. We sit and talk for an hour after the children go home. She offered to help me buy anything I need, since you bargain for everything here, and because everyone tries to rip off foreigners. She's a very sweet woman.
I'm also teaching photography to the ten girls who live in the home. They are understanding everything so quickly! A lesson that took me 3 days to teach at the last school took me only 20 minutes here, because they speak English so well. The only problem is that they are taking exams right now, so they don't have much time for my photography class since they have to spend their free time studying. Either way, I am excited to see what photographs they'll make.
Oh, I didn't mention the American. He's the Home of Hope (the organization I'm volunteering for now) volunteer coordinator. He just happened to be in India while I'm here. I have to say it's really nice to have someone to talk to, especially after not being able to speak much with anyone in Chennai.


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