Wednesday, 9 January 2013

First Experiences

Hi Everyone!
On Monday morning after most of us waking up several times throughout the night, it was FINALLY time to get up and go to breakfast. After eating some hard boiled eggs and some oatmeal looking thing we headed off to orientation for CRHP! We learned from the director Shoba about CRHP and the history behind it as well as how the Jamkhed model was developed and used for the villages surrounding Jamkhed. It was super interesting and we were all very excited to get started seeing the model in action in the villages. After that we went to lunch, which is usually the most traditionally Indian meal of the day. Its pretty spicy, even though they claim they tone it down for us westerners. What we were most excited for was our visit to the Jamkhed town where we would get to purchase and have made traditional Indian clothing. Driving into the town, you could see the health problems first hand with the lack of sewage pipes and people lining the streets waiting for rides or just brewing on the streets because they had no where to go. It was crowded, with cars flying every which way and goats, cows, dogs, chickens, and hogs roaming freely around the streets. It was a lot to take in. Once we got inside the store, the madness seemed to cool down until we walked up to the counters. Then, all of a sudden, fabric and shirts were flying onto the table and into our hands. It was a shopping experience that will never be matched or forgotten. Most of us had punjabis made which are a shirt and pant set and a few of us got sarees. We also bought scarves, lots of them. They were so beautiful and at about 2 dollars a scarf, most of us couldn't resist. So don't be surprised if that ends up being your or someone else's gift! Some of us stayed in the town to get our stuff tailored while the other nine of us (Amanda, Kate, Kaitlyn, Lily, Spencer, Kylee, Marie, Megan, and Shelby) squeezed ourselves into a single rickshaw, picture an old fashion clown car and you've pretty much got what we looked like. After that exciting ride, we had time to relax before dinner which was SPAGHETTI! After dinner we went back to our rooms and passed out early, knowing the night would be full of tossing and turning and bathroom breaks.

Tuesday morning, we rose early yet again, had breakfast, and at around 9:00 we got into vans and headed out for a non-CRHP village. It took us about 25 minutes to get there. Once we were there we split up into groups of six, each with a translator from CRHP. It was quite a moving experience. This village had a very noticeable caste system in place, most of us were able to see the homes of members of the middle class and the lower class, the dalits. Everyone in the village was so friendly and welcoming. A family even invited us into their home to have tea. Again, there were farm animals everywhere even a baby dear, the woman said they named him/her Bambi (lolz). While we were at the village we had got the chance to visit a pre-school and a primary school. At the primary school the children sang us two songs, one in Marathi and the other in English! All of a sudden they started singing "heads, shoulders, knees and toes" and doing the motions, so we had to join in! It was incredible how well they spoke English  It was then time to leave and head back to CRHP for a debriefing and lunch. The afternoon was also quite busy, we had a panel with members of the CRHP Mobile Health Team (MHT) and we had another session with Shoba where we learned about the caste systems in India. Following the session with Shoba we had our first public health issues in India discussion which was led by Katie. After a wonderful discussion on sanitation, or lack there of, in India, we headed to dinner. Once again, people got to bed pretty early which seems to be trend around here. In case you were wondering there is still one of us who hasn't showered since arriving in India, but we won't disclose any names at this time.

- Kylee and Marie

We are still having some issues adding pictures to the blog, but we are hoping to troubleshoot early tomorrow morning so that we can share some of the photos we have taken thus far!

A young preschooler at the non-CRHP village.

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