Let’s play a game. Close your eyes and imagine the best day of your life for the past one-year. Keep your eyes closed and just feel it again. What did you do that day? Who were you with? Yes, I am seeing your smile. Why? Try to explore the exact same sensation that you had. Touch your hair, go back and touch your hair in your memory. Touch your face, roll out your fingers through your lips. And now take a deep breath. Try to use your nose. What do you smell? Explore it, explore your own smell at this moment. Do you feel your body itching?
As I told you in India every time I was on the street, it was possible for me to explore thousands of different odors. Sometimes it was food – the scent of a tasty meal, or a spice. Sometimes it was just the profuse scent of India! I remember very well the smell of the Indian curry! A little bit of something spicy, to cheer up our spirit and maybe a little bit of Shafran. I smell my fingers and I could feel that I am part of this culture. I close my eyes and an array of flavors is erupting in my mind. Cardamom in the cocktail! It has the ability to humble people, adds to the character kindness and helps us to forgive insults. I am chewing it – taste of mint.
And then came the rain. I can smell the flavor of mud and freshly poured water. All the food that the local people are selling on the street turns into a vortex of aromas. And never forget to add some chilly – Indians love chilly food so make it spicy, provoke your emotions.
It was raining and everything was so serene. Smelled like just cut grass and some dirt.
I was with the kids in the center. Fifteen kids were standing around in line to wash their hands; one was holding a towel so everyone who has already finished could wipe dry its hands. I was holding in my hands one of the kids who was too short and had only one hand, and couldn’t reach the sink. Her name was Maya and I borrowed for her one of my hands so also she can participate. Beautiful and cheerful girl that had a sense of humor because she made me all in soup.
I created this “clean hands” initiative a couple of days ago because I noticed that the kids were coming to our after school program that I was teaching for after playing in the village and were always dirty. I decided to provoke them to do this routine so every day they had to wash their hands before and after curricular activities. For me that is not only a matter of hygiene but also an education about their need to respect studying as a process. They needed to be fresh and clean before they get started.
It was a very fruitful day because we played a game in which I separated the kids into two teams. One team had to pick up a picture of a fruit and the other team had to guess it. Previously I drown a crossword on the board so they could fulfill the fruits in it. The interactive game among the kids had its great importance because it provoked their will to participate and to absorb material better. Apart from that each of these activities I arranged while working in the center let me create a better idea about the personal level of each kid, and not only. I also had the possibility to help them to be more social and to challenge their competitive spirit.
We also started to learn some of the most common vegetables and I decided to learn alongside with them in Hindi everything I required from them to know. I must admit – Hindi is not an easy language, so every phrase and word was a challenge. Now I’ve learned one of my first words – ‘sabdzi’ which means vegetables.
I used to prepare everyday papers for the kids that were more mature and had a better level of English and I decided to ask them to make a translation or to write simple sentences, which were in connection with the material that I was teaching in class with the other students.
Do you know that most of the Indian names have its significance? It was a very interesting fact I found out while trying to memorize all of the names of my students. For example, “Nirmala” means clean and “Pushkar” means light. It is one of the things that Bulgarian and Indian cultures have in common. I thought at first it was strange but I loved the idea and also the sound of their names.
After the school program, I was happy and satisfied because of the great day I had with my students and the best ending of it was a glass of fresh pineapple juice I had on the street that only cost me 30 cents. Usually, it is dangerous to drink any juice prepared on the street but I was for quite some time in India so I guess I was used to the bacteria in the food there. That is why I used to drink fresh juices almost every day. In my opinion pineapple was the best, and as I find out the favorite choice also among Indians. The smell of exotic fruit, a little dirt and my smile of satisfaction of being useful today for these lovely kids, all put together in one glass. What a nice end of the day! Cheers!