Monday, October 29, 2007

Jaipur Update

Well, we have been in Jaipur a little over two weeks now. I think by all accounts the Hindi lessons are going well, though the academic speakers have been a little lackluster. Ian left on Friday for Delhi to pick up the Syracuse students who will be in the Rajasthan travel seminar. Though there was little bit of miscommunication about arrival times and such, they successfully left for the rural district of Nawalgarh on Monday morning. They will arriving in Jaipur on Wednesday, and I will be joining them for field trips and such. We have split up so that I can stay with the consortium program as long as possible. But I will go with them to Bharatpur and Agra when they go next week. Ian and I are going to discuss our research, and show them our fieldsite(s).

While Ian went to Delhi, I traveled with the other students to Tilonia, Raj. to the Social Work Research Center (a.k.a. The Barefoot College). It is an organization working with rural development particularly drinking water, solar energy, and health education. The accomodations were a little rough, but I think overall the students enjoyed visiting villages and speaking with school children.

I wish I was enjoying the fall festivities back at home. I could really go for some pumpkin pie! Hope all is well with everyone! Drop us a line when you can....

Monday, October 22, 2007

Over a month!!!

I can't believe that it has been over a month since I last posted something. I guess I have been busier than I thought. Ian and I have had a lot going on...

After leaving Mussoorie, the group spent a week in Delhi with some weekend field trips. Unfortunately, illness made the week much less than fun. First, Ian missed the trip to Amritsar because four of our students were ill. Then Ian came down with some unknown virus and had a 103+ fever for more than a week. And if that wasn't bad enough I got sick at the end of the week when we went to Agra to see the Taj. I was well enough to catch (actually, almost miss) the train to Rajkot, Gujarat but Ian decided that he was too ill to travel and stayed for an extra week in Delhi. This did not make Lisa at all happy but I think Ian made the right decision.

After we arrived in Babapur (Lisa's uncle's village), I was still sick so I spent most of the week in bed. The students seemed to have fun, and decided that rural Gujarat is the "real India" (I guess Mussoorie got bumped from the list :) ). After spending five days in Babapur, we travelled to Amhedabad, a large, post-industrial city in Gujarat. It was there that Ian joined us (though that is another long story that we will share with everyone later). It was good to have him back, and it made me wonder how I am going to spend months without him in Karauli! We spent two days in Amhedabad going to the Calico textile museum, going to Gandhi's ashram and the university he founded.

Following our stay there, we had a four day break during which the students had time to travel on their own, mostly in small cities in Rajasthan. Ian and I took the opportunity to visit Vikas' family in Jaipur.

The four days went very quickly, and on Saturday October 24th we moved into a large rented house which we are sharing with Lisa, her husband, and two children. I'm glad it is a large house; it makes sharing the space a little bit more manageable.

All the students arrived safely in Jaipur and moved into their home stays without incident. Last week was their first week of classes and so far so good, though I think that the change in the format of the Hindi instruction has been challenging for them.

I must admit that I am getting a bit homesick. I miss having the ability to cook my own food, eat as much of it as I want, drive myself around, etc, etc. And most of all I miss the schedule that Ian and I used to keep in Syracuse. We are counting the days until the program is done, because at least when we move to Bharatpur we will be the keepers of our time. If I have any critique of the study abroad program is that we try to do too much and I think it really doesn't help the students at all. But that's just my two cents...

I hope all is going well back in the States! Drop us a line; we really do enjoy hearing from people. :)