First impressions of Udaipur: Stephanie

Jay shadee Khrisna (spelled phonetically- by no means correct)! I am hoping to improve my Hindi during this two month stay, but so far Hindi is proving to be very difficult for me. There are so many vowel sounds and letter combinations that sound exactly the same when spoken. The “h” sound after consonants is especially challenging. As usual, I continue to speak in English/Spanish, which has led Alice to claim that we all may leave India with better Spanish skills than Hindi. I hope not! We’ll see how my Hindi progresses…..

Naturally, the first thing I notice about India is the children. Here the children are so beautiful, but I can’t really say why that is. It could be due to the black eyeliner that babies and children from 0-2 wear. I’ve received mixed responses from people for the purpose of the eyeliner: good luck, protection from the sun’s rays, and the flow of good/positive energy. It also could be because the children are generally interested in foreigners and offer an excited “hello” in passing. I even had a father ask if he could take a picture of me with his two little sons, I said if only I could take a picture with my camera too!

Right now I am questioning my decision to work with older children on the scholarship program since seeing all the younger ones makes me so happy! However, I think it will be possible to work with both younger and older children during my stay. Tomorrow Evan, Mike, Sarah and I are going to visit the children’s summer camp (6-14 years old) for the day. I am sure we will have lots to talk about after.

Other than that, I will echo the previous posts that Udaipur is VERY HOT! In the heat, work is generally a lot slower and produces several risks including dehydration. My first few days in India were spent adjusting my body back to the hot climate. Gatorade, hydration salts and leemoo pani (lemon water with salt) have been my medicine of choice. Of course, it also doesn’t help that there are two one hour (or more) power cuts during the day and usually during the hottest times. Hence, dealing with the heat has become an integral part of our initial experience in India.