Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Angel Home, Part 1

Wednesday, January 13, Ongole and Angel Home

(Tuesday night at home)

RB and I woke up about 6 and spent an hour taking our malaria pill. Kidding.

At (what we thought was) 8:00, we went down to the restaurant, which opened at 7:00, for breakfast. When we got there, all was dark and empty. Two waiters greeted us and held the door open for us. I asked if it was open, “Yes, come in.” I asked again, are you open? “Just 20 min., Ma’am.” Much, much later, we found out they open at 8, and we had looked at our clock from home, so it was really 7:30 here.

Breakfast was idly and sambar, neither very spicy, nor was the vada (deep fried vegetable donut) . We had masala chai tea and bought some bottled water for our day. A liter of water is 16 Rs. Or about a quarter.

Today, tomorrow and the next day are a Hindu festival called Pangol in honor of the god Rama (the blue one. There are 365 gods) so everything is decorated more than usual. The trucks have pom pons (the cheerleader kind, but metallic streamers) hanging from their mirrors. Everywhere are garlands and flags. And this lady did up our front walk with some rangole. The girls were all fascinated by it.

The girls are all so very sweet. Kailee is 18 or 19 and comes from a family of 10 kids. She LOVES kids and wants to work with special needs kids. She is really great with them and jumps right in. Katie, her sister, turned 17 on the plane over here. She is really good with the kids, too. The first couple of days here she was plane/carsick and felt pretty miserable, but she (and Kailee) are really troopers and they have taken everything they’ve encountered in stride. They are here with their dad, Scott.

Sam is 16 and here with her mom, Linda. Sam has been a real trooper, too (although she doesn’t like the squatties!) She’s really brave about trying all the Indian food and likes spicy stuff. She loves the kids, too and gets right in to play with them. She hasn’t been a lot of places and India is a big cliff to jump off of if you’re becoming a world traveler, but she’s done great!

Simona is Sarah’s oldest daughter and she is a gem. She’s been hanging with our group and acting as translator as she is fluent in both English and Telegu (the local language) and is also learning French and Hindi in school. Sim is amazing with the kids, very laid back and matter of fact, but fun and loving. She is very outgoing and not at all shy. She jumps right in like any good Indian and argues with anyone if she thinks they are being unfair. Not argues, I guess, but asserts herself. She and RB have been hanging out together and comparing lives. Sim is 13.

After breakfast we checked out our immediate neighborhood and walked two stores down to get Leslie some flip-flops for the shower. One the way back, we discovered that there is a computer alley directly next to our hotel! There are no less than 3 internet cafes, 2 computer sales & repair shops and a tailor down the little hallway. Yay! Internet. You will hear from me more often now!

At nine the cars came to take us to Angel Home. It was a beautiful, sunny day and warmer here than I had expected. I’ve been watching the temps online each day as we prepared for our trip, and they’ve been in the mid-eighties all the while. However, we are only about 45 minutes from the coast and it’s quite humid here.

The drive went quickly as it was all 4-lane highway. In no time at all we turned down a dirt lane and went about 2 miles. On the one side is a tiny settlement of about 8 homes made of sticks. They have chickens and gardens. The surrounding fields are all planted in peanuts, which grow well in the sandy soil. The neighborhood children all came out to see us and pose for pictures. They were especially thrilled to see themselves on the screen on the camera. They were very polite and didn’t push or demand. When we left to go into Angel Home they happily yelled, “Bye! Bye! Bye!”

Up next:  Our first glimpse of the Angel boys

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