que estás en el cielo.
Our Father, who art in heaven, why on earth is it raining so hard??
Yes! The monsoon arrived this morning. It has been a bit late getting here, causing some havoc for the farmers around. For Alexa and I, a delayed monsoon meant more triple-digit heat days, so when the rain started coming down while we were at breakfast, it was a wonderful temperature relief.
That is until we had to walk back to our room in it.
In approximately four seconds, we were entirely soaked. The rain was coming down in sheets, and so we gripped our water bottles, hiked up our pants, and ran down the gravel road, trying to avoid snakes and puddles in our sandaled feet. The good news? When we got back to our room, we were cold. Let me explain the gravity of this: I have never had a minute go by here where I haven’t been covered in sweat. Being cold? That was a fantasy. And now…
Santificado sea tu nombre.
Hallowed be thy name! or rather, Hallelujah for the rain! This does mean more bugs, snakes, scorpions, and, of course, mosquitos, but for the time being, the cool air is so refreshing, I could care not.
Venga tu reino.
Hágase tu voluntad en la tierra como en el cielo.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Please God, let me start working. The good news: our prayers were answered. This week (week 5), we finally started working on a project. This means no more sitting around all day! Yipee!
My job is conducting interviews of women in financial groups called SHGs (self-help groups). The SHGs bring rural women together, where they save money, can take loans with fair interest rates, and learn financial literacy. The farmers in the rural areas around here used to get loans (to buy seeds and farm equipment) from extremely corrupt moneylenders, who would charge upwards of 100% interest rates. Because most women here are illiterate and did not have any means of becoming financially literate, SHGs formed to teach women how to save, take loans, and go to the bank. Now, families are freed from the confines of taking loans from corrupt moneylenders and have learned enough reading and writing to get loans from the bank. To put it in perspective, the women in the SHGs had never been to a bank before joining, so the ability to even go inside the bank, more-or-less interact with employees and take a loan, is a major achievement. Many of the women never leave their homes, but now they are going to SHG meetings, traveling to the city to get to the bank, and are in charge of the finances of the household, which has been a huge confidence booster for them.
I have been (attempting to) interview some women in the SHGs to write up their stories about their lives before and after joining. However, with the language barrier, whoever comes with me to translate does 99% of the talking and then translates a bit of whatever the women say. So, I’m not quite sure how much of the story I am getting, but it is something.
I’m not actually sure what SPS wants me to do with the stories I collect, but I’ll let you know as soon as I find out! I’ve had things to do 3 days this week, which is a massive improvement. So it’s still slow around here, but things are looking up!
Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día.
Give us this day, our daily bread… I take that back. No more bread!!
I thought I would lose weight in India. (Not because I wanted to, but just because of being vegetarian and getting sick.) But alas, no. What I’ve learned is that eating vegetarian doesn’t necessarily mean that one is eating vegetables. So, as of yesterday, Alexa and I are on a diet. 90% of our meals are pure carbohydrates, mix that with sitting all day, et voila! On top of it, we wear super baggy clothes, so it’s easy to hide… new rules:
- Rice or roti (tortilla like bread), not both!!
- No potatoes
- Small helping of dal (lentils)
- As many cucumbers as possible
- If they have it, some type of vegetable
- No sweets (although I must say I wasn’t eating any before because to say they liberally use sugar is an understatement…)
- Only snack if “work out” the night before
Pray for us.
Food in Indore that I won’t be eating again for a while…
Perdona nuestras ofensas,
como también nosotros perdonamos a los que nos ofenden.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Or rather, forgive me for the snack I just ate that totally broke the rules outlined above.
No nos dejes caer en tentación y líbranos del mal.
And lead us not into temptation (but those cookies look so good!) but deliver us from evil (please snakes don’t come into our rooms, please please please).
[Inspiration for this blog post: whenever I am terrified here, I start saying the Our Father in Spanish. For me, it acts as a meditation, like a chant almost that calms the mind and focuses the brain. Instead of concentrating on the actual words, I think about the rhythm of the poem (I see it more as a poem than a prayer). Why in Spanish? Who knows… Probably because I can’t remember the French version. Oopsies.]
And here is a *beautiful* poem I wrote about the bugs. Enjoy.
Be gone bugs!
Don’t make me throw these jugs
There are bugs in our bed
That I’m trying not to whack
But it’s driving me insane
Because I can barely sleep in my sack
I squish hundreds of them with my shoes
If you were here, you would too
They come in from under the door
And scatter all over the floor
My food is not safe
I’m trying to hide it now
My suitcase is stuffed
With enough food for a cow
We got a bottle of Raid
But I’m not sure it’s made
For the amount of bugs that come through
If only you knew…
I used to follow the ants
Around the room
With a bottle of soap in hand
Wishing I really had a broom
Oh yes! How can I forget?
The other day, there was something new we met
It scurried around
Not wanting to be found
It can up the mosquito net
And onto the curtains
Please don’t be a recurring pet
My eyes are now trained
And ready to maim
The crickets and termites and ants
That have all came
This poem is pretty bad
Please don’t be sad
We’ve learned great protection skills
That I guess I’ll use if I ever head to the hills
So goodbye for now
We’ll try to think how
We can survive the next couple days
In myriad ways