I am the happiest I’ve been since we arrived in India. I figured out how to get internet access on my phone! I was so disappointed when it didn’t work last week, and in a moment of desperation last night, I scrolled through the settings menu and tried to unlock the secrets of my Droid. After some back-and-forth emails with Mom and Dad, I tried activating data while roaming. Sitting on the edge of my bed, I absently told the girls that I thought I would cry if I could get it to work. After a bit of fiddling, I found the setting I was searching for. I promptly burst into tears upon seeing the Google homepage load. Liz teased me-“You should be a Verizon commercial!”
I just feel a lot better that we are connected, in some small way, to the outside world. The school sent over a crappy cell phone for us to use, except it doesn’t have a SIM ard or a charger. We aren’t quite sure what to do with it. Now, at least we will be able to keep abreast of any breaking news, and I’ll be able to email and Facebook to my heart’s content.
Today was our first full day at school. We arrived at 8 for assemly, and Sr. Cyril officially introduced us to the girls. I worked with two Class 7 (everything is Class, not Grade) Rainbow girls on their English workook, and then Colleen and I were summoned to a 1st grade classsroom. The teacher wrote an agenda on the board, told the girls not to be naughty, and scurried off to an all-day meeting, leaving Colleen and I to gape at a classroom of 40 girls. The kids were insane–hitting, pinching, pushing chairs, standing on benches, scuttling after fallen rubbers (erasers), and dashing off to the toilet. We did the best we could to muddle through the lesson plan until, mercifully, the Bengali teacher arrived after about half an hour. Shetook over, so we went next door to visit Lizand Cynthia’s class. They weren’t having much luck either. I don’t understand how the work these girls were doing helps them to learn. Loreto is supposed to be all about groupwork, but the kids were reciting poems from memory, copying sentences from the board, and doing weird addition/subtraction with letters and tally marks. The whole thing just seemed very unproductive.
The klds don’t even go to school for very long–only 8-2 withan hour long break for lunch and recess. That’s it. I guess that’s just India though. Nobody here plans anything. It’s nearly impossible to schedule an appointment with a teacher or administrator. They just kind of see how things are going and take it one day at a time. You can see how this would be absolutely maddening for a Type A person like myself.
We met up with Tamo and had meetings with the woman in charge of the microcredit program and with the career/skills orientation teacher. Around 1, we left school and went to the grocery store, which had ben totally rearranged since our visit last week. We picked up some toilet paper (tough to find!) and headed home for lunch.
Afternoons here are oppressively hot. Too hot to do much but read and nap and chat. So that’s what we do. Today, we had a loooong conversation about all sorts of things, and the discussion actually turned pretty heavy. It became one of those talks that you’re supposed to have in college, but with a special Notre Dame twist. We talked a lot aout Catholicism and some of the sticking points we have with the faith. We’re all Catholic, but kind of to differeing degrees. Laying under our mosquito nets, we spoke like adultsand thought in paragraphs. Big words like “magesterium” and “transubstantiation” floated in and out of the conversation. These girls are smart, eloquent, and secure in their beliefs. I hope my normally wishy-washy argumnts will get some bulking up by listening to the girls debate and challenge each other.