Sunday, 17 July 2011

Big Buddha

A few weeks ago we visited Lumbini Park and Buddha Nagar.  It is a famous statue of Buddha in the middle of a lake.

I think can't decide whether this was just a fountain or if it actually for people to swim in.  

The park also contained some pretty sketchy looking rides.

Our cruise ship out to the statue.

This is me and one of my country directors Melissa.

This lake smells really bad, but it looks really pretty.

They had this really classy astroturf pattern surrounding the statue.  

This is kind of India's version of the Statue of Liberty.  

Just an authentic Indian pose.  

It changes colors at night.

It is hard to see but this security guard followed us around with his whistle trying to get us back on the boat, apparently they don't like you to dilly dally much.  It was pretty funny.  He was practically blowing his whistle in my face at one point.  

The city from the boat.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Just Another Day in India

This is our self appointed tour guide of a mosque.  I couldn't understand most of what he was saying.  At the end he demanded that we give him money "for the children."  I don't know what children he was talking about but he kept chasing all the kids away during the tour.  I have him a few cents and called it good since we didn't even want a guide and because I didn't understand a thing he said.  

So I just thought I would share something that I found in my inbox this morning.  It is so nice and so funny.

          aleesha, this is sirish here i met u in NGO for physically handicapped people today morning hope u got me u where along with your was very glad speaking to , at this tender age ur doing social service and that too u came all the way from US.. it has touched my heart...
                           Im 28 yrs old bachelor doing business,hats off to u for serving my people.. you where looking simple and down to earth... Whoever marry you is lucky guy... can u give your contact number so that i can call u once..plz mail me back

With Regards
Hyderabad india

This brought several questions to mind.  So what age range qualifies as tender?  How old does he think I am?  haha I am looking simple?...that is probably pretty accurate.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Charminar and Pearls Second Round

I went back to the pearl shop found and they were doing some filming for the news.  They wanted our story so we elected Ale, the broadcast journalism student.  They did get some great footage of all of us shopping.  It was pretty funny.  

Pearl statue of a Hundu God.

Back to the Charminar.  This time we went inside.  The details of it are amazing. 

The fountain in the middle. 

We had to walk up a tiny stair case all the way to the top, I felt a little claustrophobic.  I also rigged my purse to stay up higher.  This place is jam packed with people and has a history of pick pocketing.  

View of the city from the top

See what I mean about crowded street.  Cars still push their way though down there and they will run you down if you don't get out of the way.  

I have posted a picture of this building before, this is a different view.  I was told it is a hospital.  

People selling all sorts of things below. 

The masque we visited.  The picture didn't turn out that great but you get the picture.  

We had to wear scarves over our heads to be more modest.  The guard at the door ran up to us and told us to cover up!  It is weird though because I saw lots of other women not wearing anything over there head.  

These are tombs of important people.  The men's and women's are decorated differently.  

On our way home.  They fit whole families on motorcycles.  Save your family some money on a suburban and just get a motorcycle, the only downfall is the safety rating but not a big deal.  

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Brandon and Sirisha's Engagement Party

We bought some Indian clothes for the party. 

A lady from our ward came over to do henna on our hands, so we looked pretty legit.  We even got stickers for our foreheads.  

The party was at a nice hotel.  I am not sure what this thing is but it was cool because it moves.

The happy couple.  They met at the Utah State University, Brandon is from Utah and Sirisha is from here in Hyderabad.  They are getting married in Logan in August. 

Some of the group.  When you go up on stage to greet the bride and groom it is good luck to sprinkle rice on their heads, so that was kinda fun.  

India poses.  

After the party the kids literally destroyed the stage!  hahaha 

It is so funny many of the door men here wears cool outfits.  

Monday, 27 June 2011

Shri Guru Sankalpam (Parents Association for the Mentally Handicapped Persons)

We visited a school for mentally handicapped people.  It was an awesome experience.  We were able to meet the people there and see how the school runs.  The school is mostly run by parents and we were very impressed with how much they have done.  They are really invested in this program and the atmosphere at the school so awesome.  Just to recap, the principal of this school is the woman who helped us when we got lost and that is how we found out about the school. 

During the school day they have a time set aside for vocational training where they teach them certain skills.  Some of the things they teach are candle making, incense making, packaging, and making ego friendly bags.  They then sell some of the items to make a bit of money for the school.  

The women picture here lost her own son to an accident and she now comes to the school to volunteer teach everyday.  

The State Bank of India has been very helpful in donating machines for the children to use.  They have a computer and a few other machines for vocational training.  As you can see they are quite tight on space though.

Some of the students working on making the incense sticks.  

 After attending the school for some time, the man in the blue shirt was able to get his own apartment and he walks to the school everyday by himself.  

In this room they are working on making some wall hanging pouches for storage.  

 Another machine donated by the State Bank of India.  They bank is able to donate equipment but they cannot do any money donations.  

The pouches they make.   

 A class room with some younger students.  

This woman is 45 years old and has been coming to the school for a long time.  She is so happy and couldn't stop giggling at us.  

These girls are working on packaging some food items as well as soap.  

They were also very happy.  

The kitchen where they eat and learn about food preparation.  

What great skills for them to learn.  

This little boy tends to run away so his father had his phone number tattooed on his arm.  He went missing for about two weeks more then once, but luckily they were able to get him back which can be quite the feat in India.  

The daily schedule

This guy was really fun he was totally making everyone laugh.  

The teachers/volunteers/parents who run the school.  

Washing hands before lunch

The school bus driver is a parent who picks up all the children everyday for school and drops them off at the end of the day.  

The main hurdle for the school is funding.  Currently the principal goes through the city searching for individuals who would be willing to fund the students for one year of school.  After the visit the HELP International team talked about setting up an internet based donation system where donors can view a profile of each student and choose a student to sponsor.  It costs 6,000 rupees for a child to go to school for one year, that is the equivalent of about 135 US dollars.  There are not that many children at the school so we believe if we can get every child sponsored it would take a lot of stress of the school.  Right now they are having a hard time making the rent payment on the building amongst other bills.  The parents of the children give as much as they can but they are all from very poor circumstances.  We will be visiting the school again later this week to propose the idea of the sponsorship program.