Monday, 30 September 2013

No rest of the wicked! Jam-packed weeks in India

PROJECT: Teaching
WRITTEN BY: Kate Renehan

Since my last post we have been quite busy over here in Udaipur. Monday to Friday of every week we are kept very busy, teaching English in the rural school in the morning then teaching at the orphanage in the evening. Although the challenge of teaching a class of kids who do not speak English every day is still a daunting prospect, its fair to say that in the four weeks we have been here we have not only drastically improved our ability to communicate and teach (not to mention our basic Hindi has probably improved) but grown incredibly attached to those in our classes. I can also safely say the experience has meant we all now definitely appreciate the amount of work our teachers back home would have done for us back in school, with the planning of lessons and running of classes day to day draining far more time and energy than we could have anticipated. Even so, the feeling of achievement and rush of excitement when the kids have genuinely learnt and actually retained a concept you have been teaching in class is more than worth all the effort.

Even though our weeks are jam - packed with work, we definitely haven't been resting in our time off! The vast amount of things to do and see in India has meant we have remained busy for a majority of our free time here. For example, last weekend we had the incredible opportunity visit Jodhpur and participate in a camel safari in the Osian Desert. In order to reach Jodhpur from Udaipur we had to travel 7 hours on a public bus there and back - this was an experience to remember in itself! On Saturday we saw some of the incredible historical sights in Jodhpur, such as the beautiful Mehrangarh Fort in which we learnt about the history of the royal family of Jodhpur. That night we saw the sunset up on the sand dunes in the Osian desert before staying overnight with local villagers in the desert (sleeping literally under the stars). We were up bright and early at 5am for the camel safari at sunrise, which was definitely one of the highlights of the trip so far - there is no way to truly explain the feeling of seeing the sunrise in the desert in such a truly unique way. We also were introduced to traditional Rajasthani cuisine whilst in the home stay, sampling some absolutely incredible traditional food for breakfast after the camel safari (the lentil stuffed chapati was definitely a group favorite).

Whilst massive trips like the Jodphur one are incredible, we don't always have to travel far to see some of the remarkable sights of India. Two weeks ago we visited the incredible Monsoon Palace, which is only about one hour from where we are staying in Udaipur. This was a stunning example of Indian culture and history, as well as offering truly awe - inspiring views of the city in which we live. We have also had the chance to visit the City Palace in Udaipur recently, which gave us the chance to learn about the royal family of Udaipur and the history of the region we live in. It is fascinating to learn of the many different royal families that existed all over India, and the distinct differences between these different royals all over the country. These differences are even evident when comparing the royals of Jodhpur and those of Udaipur, even though both cities are within the same state of India. Experiences like this are just eye openers to how exciting the culture and history of an ancient country like India truly is.

In the last week we have also had the chance to immerse ourselves in traditional Indian dress, as we took a dinner outing as a chance to each wear a traditional Indian sari. Walking through the markets in our sari's was definitely an experience to remember, and the dinner itself offered an incredible view of the Udaipur lake at sunset.
This weekend we travel to Agra and Jaipur for the long anticipated Taj Mahal trip, which promises to be one of the most exciting outings we have whilst in India (My next post will have all the details and the pictures!) Overall our time here in India is flying by, and its safe to say that so far it has been absolutely fantastic in every sense of the word. Whilst the ability to see some of the most incredible sights that India has to offer is amazing in itself, the unique opportunity to work and connect with the kids at the school and the boys at the orphanage is for me what has truly made this trip unforgettable so far.

Until next time,

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