We have been at CRHP one week as of 7 AM today! It was our second volunteer day – different students worked at the preschool, Helping Hands (the women entrepreneur group), building a house, and at the farm. I was very excited to work at the farm because of the good experience that we had there when we first visited. Our group was a mix of our class and some Periclean Scholars who worked at the farm yesterday. The farm is 30-45 minutes away but I really enjoy the ride because it gives us a wonderful opportunity to sight see and focus on enjoying our environment. It is certainly rural here! The drive is mostly calm, except when large trucks and tractors drive past us, only inches away!
At the farm we cut corn, fed the cows, planted greens, weeded, and helped make (and taste test!) gooseberry candy. It is very peaceful there and everyone was friendly to us. The most meaningful part of the experience was after the work when we sat outside on a large blanket with the women and spent a few hours relaxing. As simple as that may sound, it was a lot of fun and certainly the defining part of the day. In addition to eating lunch, we saw wedding photos, listened to music, and the women drew beautiful henna tattoos on our arms, hands, legs, and feet. It was in those moments that I really experienced a connection to this experience and Indian culture. We received such incredible hospitality from the women. They were kind and friendly. It was a wonderful example of forging connections with new friends who come from a different worldview and life experience – not to mention that we managed to communicate and share with each other despite a language barrier. At the end of day we were sad to get in the van and leave. It was a very refreshing day because we had the opportunity to focus and enjoy each moment.
When we returned to campus, we had our second language lesson with Mina, the preschool teacher. We began with a lesson on wearing a sari – Anna was our model! I think we will need a few more lessons before any of us can actually put a sari on correctly! For our language lesson we studied prepositions, interrogation words, verbs, and body parts. Mina is very patient with us! We are lucky to be hosted by so many kind and welcoming people.