Today we started work at 7 AM. There isn't much for us to do because the masons are doing work that actually needs skills haha. Not that we aren't skillful, but we're more like labour. Right now they are taking rocks we have collected and using cement to create a wall and then covering the top in more cement. It's crazy how they do it; it's like a puzzle. Then the sand that creates the trenches are pulled down to fill in either sides of the wall. So we split into halves and one group worked in the morning and one in the evening. Hopefully this won't persist; I really enjoy working. I have acquired my fifth bruise. I am pretty positive that this is the hardest I have ever worked in my life ha!
Things I like about India: I like how women ride sidesaddle on the motorcycles in their saris. I like how men hold hands when they're friends! It's adorable. They also sling their arms around each other. I like how Arun, Jerry, and Ronak hang out all the time. I like how the crew gets along so well. We have the same taste in music and clothes and boys and it's like a slumber party every night. I like how they use bamboo to hold things in place while working construction. I like how chapati is served with every meal and tea is served at four. I don't know how I will go without haha..
Things I don't like: Jerry is so the favourite of the ladies at Youth Touch. I'm jealous. And that's about it.
After work, Madan gave us a lesson on women and girls in India. It was really sad. The system of the dowry is still in place. It depends on the economic status of the family, but the dowry can include money, jewels, clothes, and even electronics. Rich families can spend millions. Families can save for ten years for the wedding. It's legitimately trying to buy a good life. If there are three girls or more, the family will end up really poor. Having a son is very important. If they have an ultrasound to check the sex of the baby, and find out it is a girl, they'll try to get an abortion. If it's too late, they may kill the child after birth. The parents give the best care to the boys. If a woman is widowed, she isn't allowed to wear henna or bangles or a bindhi; they aren't allowed to wear anything that make women beautiful here. Obviously, this doesn't begin to cover it, but these are just some things that stood out to me.
Priyanka (Madan's niece) and one of the wives (I will get her name!) did henna for us. We're so lucky. We're all just chillaxing before tea and round two of work.
DWC Student Team Leader
Sikar, India: May 2012