Friday, January 29, 2010


January 18th, 2010
Prem Gideon’s ANURAG Society

Bing bang boom. Today was a fun-tabulous day!  :D
We woke up a tad bit early to go to a school/vocational program started by a Christian Indian woman named Prem (which apparently is a masculine north Indian name, but her dad really liked it). She became a Christian when she was 17. At the time, all she wanted to do was be a dancer, but she ended up working for an adoption agency. Twenty years ago, she found a different calling and started an after-school program for kids who were not the poorest of the poor (there are many organizations helping them, plus the government) or the lower middle class (they can afford more things).  Now she has a school for them that goes up to 4th grade, plus a tailoring school for women to learn and get jobs (or start their own business).
Here, I took a picture of their sign that says what they do. 

[ze sign]

[the outside of the operation]

[meet Prem Gideon- cool name right?]

Anyway, we got a tour of the place. The children in daycare and school were simply precious! They all wanted to shake our hands and say “Hello, ma’am” or “How are you” even though they didn’t know too much more English than that. They knew some English songs though and a few of them sang for us.

[a classroom, what else?]

[stealing the answers from someone's homework! scandalous!]

[a knitting machine. Billy? Justine?]


[but they were cuter!]

[look at this adorable toddler wearing... makeup?]

After the tour, we had lunch. Let me tell you about this lunch. One very common Indian food is called paneer. It’s basically squares of cottage cheese with some sort of mild sauce on it. It’s one of my safety foods because it’s not very spicy. So, naturally, I took a nice big bite of the paneer Prem’s people served us. And another.
It was the spiciest damn thing I’ve ever had in my life. I moved onto the vegetables and they didn’t help either. My entire mouth felt like it was bleeding. I ate an entire piece of plain flat bread (nan) and it only died down a little bit. After many more pieces and some plain rice it was finally better. Oh man. The only thing I could handle was a tiny bit of the dhal. SO HOT.

[don't be fooled, it's actually fire.]

Next we were told to plan a 45 minute show for ALL of the 200 students!! We picked out a bunch of fun songs with actions (i.e. Father Abraham, Hokey Pokey…) and two skits (Moses parting the Red Sea, and the Good Samaritan).
As the kids came in, Bryan and Andrew performed a nice lil’ preshow. Pretty much karaoke… My Heart Will Go On was even sang. 

[Brian, you don't have to be jealous of Bryan's music. Trust me.]

[kids watching. more came too!]

[skit = Moses parting Red Sea. Can you tell?  hint: Moses is the one with the guitar.]

The show was super fun. The kids LOVED it and some of the teachers helped translate. Then after they finally left, the older girls wanted to dance with/for us. At first they were all quite bashful, only one or two of them danced while the others nervously sang. Then someone played some music on their cell phone and a few more got involved. Inevitably, they dragged all of us onstage. It was funny to see which people in the group relished group dancing and which ones nervously shrank to the back. Really fun though, we all just danced to random Indian songs… they were sort of poppy- rap, yet uniquely Indian too.

Then we went to Prem’s office and she answered our questions for another hour. Plus we got delicious tea and some crunchy fried onion things. Yum.

By the time we got back to the hotel, we were exhausted! I took a nap before dinner!
Now I’m watching CSI and ready for bed!
Tomorrow we wake up early to fly to Chennai… BEACH TIME BABY! 

p.s. "Other Random Sights from the Day that Didn't Fit Into My Story"

[the alley we walked through to get tharrr]

[clothes! a common sight]

[view from the balcony thing we planned our skits on!]


  1. okay, the spicy food story? the funniest one EVER. i'm sorry, though, for your poor bleeding mouth. also, the fact that you called it your "safety food" made induced a small chortle on my behalf.

    the kids are adorable. you should have brought one home with you.

    (My Heart Will Go On? i'm not too threatened.)

    how fun, though. can't wait to hear more.

  2. Very cute kids!

    What's with the uniforms on the older kids? Private schools?


  3. I loved hearing the story about doing the show for the kids. I had no idea you were going to do something like that and it sounds so cool! I think that is really neat that the girls came up and were dancing and singing with you-what fun!

    The food-Oh my god!! (It was too scary to think about to use only initials)
    I cannot even imagine how your poor little mouth felt but I must say for a picky little eater that you were as a child you have evolved and grown up! You have surely passed me by! One of my fears about traveling to a 3rd world country or anywhere like Japan is because I am afraid I won't like the food!

    Love the street scenes!

  4. Hahahaha, oh yes the spicy food. Man. It. Was. HOT.
    Of COURSE I have a "safety food!" Who do you think I am? :)

    Surprise, I did bring a kid home! She's living in my closet!

    Most schools (maybe all) in India wear uniforms. Public and private.

    Yeah, we had no idea we were to do a show either!! It was lots of fun though!