On Friday, we arrived at Loyola Higher Secondary school in the rural village of Kuppayanallur. We were greeted with a warm welcome from the Jesuits and students of the school. After eating lunch and putting our stuff away into our rooms, most of went to play a game of football with the kids. (By football I mean soccer.) Since I wasn't getting much action down on my end of the field, I played with some of the younger girls who had wandered over to watch us. They began asking all sorts of questions like my name, my mother's name, my father's name, my sister's name, my brother's name, my favorite flower etc. Then they began feeding me some very strange food, and by feeding I mean shoving it into my mouth. It was a tamarind fruit from one of the trees on the campus, and it was very very sour. It was really hard to chew and instantaneously sucked up all of the saliva in my mouth so that I couldn't swallow it. Unfortunately, I couldn't spit it out either because the girls kept asking me to open my mouth to see if I finished eating it yet...then one girl sprinted off to get me water, which I very much appreciated. haha. Next came some sort of nuts which I thought would be spicy but really they were quite good.
After football, we ate dinner, reflected, and went to be since we were all exhausted.
Saturday morning, we woke up and started playing games with the boys at 8:30am. They are all very energetic, and we began with a very fun game of volleyball. I don't remember who won, but I think it was my team. It was really sunny yesterday and by 10am it felt like it was 90 degrees outside. After volleyball we played basketball which was really fun except we were running around and it was really really hot outside. Our ice cold bucket showers felt really great after that! Then we ate lunch, and afterward we went back to the boys' hostel (dorms) and talked with them for a bit. They showed us their hostel and started playing an Indian movie called Robo for us. For most of them it was their favorite movie and they could not believe we hadn't seen it before. Next we were required to start dancing in front of all of them; according to one student the "Macarena" (sp?) isn't really dancing... yeah.
After our tea break we visited the girls' hostel, which was my favorite part of the day! When we first entered, the girls had been studying for their exams, but they took a break to sing for us, and two girls danced (real dancing). We sang songs for them as well, but nothing in our culture seems to excite them. I can't really blame them seeing as how everything here is really vibrant. After they warmed up to us, a wild game of dress up began!! All of the girls on our team were pulled in different circles of the students, and our Indian makeovers began. We had bindis placed on our foreheads, our hair combed and tied into braids, flowers placed in our hair after that, jewelry put on us from the girls, nail polish painted on our fingernails, and best of all really intricate henna designs painted on the palms of our left hands!! Then some more food was shoved into our mouths but it tasted good this time. It was a mix between a chick pea and a green pea, but I don't remember the name. Oh yeah, Matt did not escape getting his nails painted either.... Most of it he has chipped off by now hahaha.
Afterward, we went to Mass, which was said in Tamil (the language here). I love hearing the Mass in Tamil because it's so unique yet familiar at the same time. It also helps us to be in solidarity with the students because many of them are Christians.
After dinner, we experienced the highlight of the day - a cultural performance from the boys at their hostel. We now have a whole new interpretation of the word "humping." No wonder they thought our dancing sucked...wow. We were all thoroughly entertained, and the boys were happy to perform for us. Unexpectedly, we were asked to perform as well, and unfortunately, we had not perfected any performance to the degree we would have liked so we improvised. We began by singing the song of our country - the National Anthem - and then followed it up with a dance to the song "Jai Ho" from the movie Slumdog Millionaire that won two oscars for the best score/song (or something). I hope Mark destroys the video he took of this because it got a little outrageous.
The boys danced one last time with the guys from our group, and everyone went to reflection happy. At reflection, we all learned that most of us are feeling homesick in some way, and all of us miss the comforts and familiarities of our lives at home. We all appreciate the simplest things so much more: ice, cold water, our beds, hot showers, snow, and our daily routines. We love it here, but home is on our minds :)
This morning, we had an early rising at 6:30am because we left to attend Mass in one of the villages outside of the school. I saw the biggest spider ever there! We returned to play/watch more games of volleyball and basketball, and soon we will meet to discuss the lessons plans we will teach in the classrooms tomorrow. Wish us luck!