Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Schools in Kanpur

While we were in Kanpur for a few days last week, we were invited to visit a couple schools.  I was really excited to be able to visit a girls school.  In India they have government schools which are public and free and they also have private school which cost.  I am positive there are many other types of schools in India, but that is all I know about so far :)

We visited a boys government school and a girls private school(where the medium for the older students is English, so this means it is taught in English).  The principals of both schools sat down with us and gave us chai(hot tea) to drink and answered some of our questions about their schools.  We learned so much and are so thankful for their hospitality and openness.

Both of these schools are in a poorer area of the city and are predominantly Muslim.  The population of the boys school is an even poorer class of students than the girls school because it is free.  The girls school costs around 250 rupees a month.  This is roughly $4.80...yeah 4 dollars and 80 cents a MONTH! Many of the families in this area can not afford to pay that.

One thing I noticed in these schools was the level of respect for teachers and adults.  When the teacher enters the classroom the entire class stands and is not allowed to sit down until instructed to by the teacher.  Also, when a student wants to answer a question they must stand up and address the teacher.  They also have a big wooden stick at the front of the class in case of discipline problems.  This was all, MUCH different than when I substitute taught in low income areas of Austin.

We asked both of the principles what is the biggest challenge they face overseeing their schools.

For the boys school:

The principal said that it is hard to motivate his students.  Most of them will eventually work in the same profession as their fathers.  They see no need for education because they know what job they will do when they get older.  He says this tends to keep many of them in a cycle of poverty because they don't have very high expectations.  This, of course, is not the case for all his students and they actually have some students go on to University and even to the prestigious IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), but many are stuck in the cycle of poverty.

He also said their parents are not that involved in their children's education.

For the girls school:

The principles at this school face a different set of problems.  Because this is a private school and parents pay for their girls to go they are more involved and usually a bit more educated themselves.  The girls also want to learn and many of them have big dreams of becoming doctors, engineers, and lawyers.  However, the principles told us that many of these girls do not go on to college or careers because they get married and have children.

So those are some of the things we learned about schools in Kanpur.  It is really interesting how some of the problems are really similar to problems in American schools and some are totally different.

We didn't get any pictures at the boys school, but here are some pics from the girls school:

This is a handicraft class.  They learn to sew and do small handicrafts.  I wish I would have learned to sew in middle school.

A highschool class.  This girl was standing up to answer a question and she just kept standing while we took the picture.

A view of the school, it is 3 stories.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

clear up on water

After my last post about water, I had a really sweet friend text me from America asking if she could buy us a water filter.  So I thought I should clear some things up.  We do have a water filter in our apartment.  It is a reverse osmosis filter that we use for drinking water, cooking, and brushing our teeth.  I think that many wealthier families in India have these in their homes.  The other day I even saw a reverse osmosis filter in the home of a family that lives in our neighborhood.  They are definitely not wealthy, but are teachers so they have a stable income.

It is hard living in a country with so much poverty and need surrounding you but still having all the things you need(and WAY more).  It is something I don't quite know what to do with emotionally......

Our water:

A few blocks away....

Friday, November 25, 2011

Water and other Random things

Change is hard.  Most often, it is good and beneficial to refining a person.  But, oh man it is hard.

This past week we were a part of some training and one of the teachers talked about when the Israelites left Egypt during the Exodus.  They were following God into a land that they didn't know and time after time God provided for them and showed them his power and provision.  HOWEVER, time after time they grumbled and did not trust God.

One part of the story that stood out to me is in Exodus 15:22 when they found no water to drink.  Then they found water and it was to bitter to drink.  Wow, if there is one thing I have taken for granted my entire life, it is having clean water.  Access to clean water is nothing to take for granted here.  The water that comes out of our faucets is totally undrinkable.  It is filled with bacteria and parasites :0

Apparently, the World Bank estimates that 23% of communicable diseases in India are related to unsafe water.  Diarrhea alone causes more than 1,600 deaths daily-the same as if eight 200-person jumbo jets crashed in to the ground each day.  Most of these daily deaths are children under 5 years old.

I don't write this to make people feel guilty or have pity on India, there are actually many things we could learn from the people here.  I just think God is teaching me and helping me dream of what the world would look like if there was clean water, better education,(and on and on) and if there were not children needlessly dying everyday.  

God is in India.  He is working and moving and many people here are desperately seeking him.  Please pray for us that we would have wisdom and creativity in our role here and that you would have wisdom in your role wherever you are.  The Kingdom of God IS growing and it is really exciting! 

I really had no idea when I sat down what I should blog about, and honestly I don't think this blog makes much sense(its kinda scattered), but I guess this is just a glimpse of what is going on inside my crazy mind right now....

I do want to more consistently share our experiences about living in India, but right now there is so much I could share I feel a little overwhelmed.  Maybe ya'll could help me out by sending me questions or things you want to know about our lives here in India, India culture, food, travel, ect....  

Just leave a comment.....Thanks, hopefully my next blog post will be better ;)

A few random pics:

This was a first for me.  This toilet doubles as a western style toilet you can sit on and then lift up the lid and it can be used as a squatty.  I think you have to have pretty good balance to squat up there..

 Ryan in front of the Red Fort in Delhi.  It was built from 1639-1648 and was home to the Mughal royal family and served as the capital of the Mughal empire.  

Lauren and me at an Urdu festival.  People kept wanting to take pictures with us....

Getting Henna(Mehndi) done on our hands.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Isn't it Ironic

When Ryan and I first started dating we often talked about countries we wanted to visit and countries we wanted to live in.  One of our conversations went something like this:

Ryan:  So what country would you really like to visit?

Kristin:  I have always wanted to visit Morocco.  It seems mysterious and beautiful.  What about you?

Ryan:  I would really like to visit India.

Kristin:  Yeah, I think I would like to visit India but I don't think I would ever want to LIVE there.

Today marks day three of living in India and I can't imagine wanting to be in any other country more than here.  It is pretty ironic how things work out and how God leads us in ways we never imagine.

Here is a little tour of our temporary(3 months) home in Delhi, and a Sikh parade in our neighborhood that we happened upon.