June 08, 2011
Life in Punjab
It has been such a long time since my last blog entry but I have been so busy! If I'm not working at the NGO then I'm researching or playing with children in the migrant camps or cooking food for other interns or traveling on the weekends. Or finally trying to catch up on sleep which I get little of because the temple blares the morning prayers right into my window at 4:30 am. But some days I enjoy hearing the crazy rhythms and the chanted prayers.
So, for the first week it was hard for me to decide whether or not I liked where I was in Punjab or what I was doing at the NGO or whether or not I wanted to escape north to Mcleod Ganj where I was promised a cooler climate. The heat is blazing hot and I can never escape it. I work in it, I build stoves and shelters in it, I teach in it, and then I go home and live in it. There is no air conditioning in rural Punjab (or not at my poor NGO anyways) and power cuts are frequent. However, my body has adjusted to the heat and I've grown to really love the village I'm living in, the people I work with, the constant stream of chai filling my belly, and the music, sound, and noise that surrounds me 24/7. I even like the buses here - which at first terrified me because I thought about how likely it was I would die in the crammed tin can on wheels swerving about the road. India - or Punjab more specifically - is growing on me and life seems completely normal now after some initial shocks.
My work right now is primarily teaching children at two agricultural migrant communities in Dosarka, Punjab, as well as a girls club in a village close by. I was actually roped into teaching an Intermediate English and while this was something I didn't want to do in India, I think it will aid my research. I want to look into how globalization and Western culture has or has not been influencing education in India, specifically marginalized communities. Punjab is one of the wealthiest states in India with one of the highest rates of immigration to other countries (primarily English speaking) such as the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Meanwhile, much of the culture remains fairly conservative and the main religion - Sikhism - continues to be followed by much of the population. In my class I'm gaining valuable insight into whether or not the students feel about learning English and how they feel about their own culture.
Well it is quite late here and I still have lots to do so this blog will have to be cut off short but I promise to post again soon!
Posted by julimari at June 8, 2011 12:45 PM