Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Can't stop thinking about...

1. Lakhtokia

Yesterday was the last day that Kristin and I went to Lakhtokia to give Myrna her medicine. Lakhtokia, you may remember, is the homeless settlement by the railroad tracks where we serve food to the children on Sundays. And Myrna is a girl who lives there and has been very ill and who Kristin has been trying to help.


Myrna had lost lots of weight and her stomach was very large and hard. After a visit to the pediatrician, Pratyasha--the organization that feeds the children--provided her with protein shakes and medicine to get rid of worms. She was so adorable as she pretended to enjoy the taste of the medicine and the protein shakes. She would put this fake smile on after she guzzled every bit of liquid goodies.

I have actually become addicted to going down to Lakhtokia and giving the kids hugs and holding their hands. I wish I could do it every day. Every time I hear the trains from my apartment, I think of the kids. And I can’t stop thinking about how loving and fun they are. I can’t stop thinking about how they just want a big ole smile and a big ole hug.

Since I have been going down there more often, I have seen more of what is going on between the government and the people. The government keeps knocking down their makeshift houses and putting up more barbed wire to prevent them from re-building. Not only is this not fair, but it does not make any sense to me. As I have said before, where are the people going to go? Where does the government WANT them to go? How does this fix anything? Since the barbed wire has gone up, everything seems different down there. The kids and adults seem to be angrier at each other, more nervous, less like they used to be.

Trying something new when feeding the kids... washing their hands before they eat!

2. Durga Puja (October 21-27)

This is the major holiday in Northeast India (where I am) that worships the Hindu God Durga. In the cricket fields, huge stages are being built. Behind shops, artists are finalizing statues of Durga. It is a week of spending time with family and friends, walking around town looking at the many statues, and participating in festivals. 

Tonight, I went with some new friends to buy their moms' Durga Puja presents. We went to Fancy Bazaar, the main shopping market in Guwahati. For Durga Puja you give presents to your friends and families (I better get on that), so every shop and every market is quite crowded as people rush to do their last minute shopping!

Shopping for Durga Puja!

Although it is a couple of weeks until Durga Puja, I feel that this holiday week is going to show India’s colorful spirit even more! I can’t wait!

Operation Smile is giving hundreds of scarves made in Guwahati to its donors as a way to say thank you. The family that owns the company where these scarves are made recently invited my roommate Kristin and some others and me to dinner. The scarf shop owner is is 24 years old. The shop has been passed down to him from his father. This dinner was a family affair! The owner's father, mother, sister, brother, aunt and uncle, cousins, etc, joined us at this very nice vegetarian restaurant. The food was super delicious. We had naan, rice, dal, paneer (which is Indian cottage cheese or tofu), sweet corn, and other unique Indian dishes. They fed us so much food it was unreal and I thought my stomach was going to blow. Plates of food kept appearing in front of my face, and it is polite to eat it all, so we ate it all and grew huge food babies. Even when we said no to more food, the family said to bring it anyway--it was hilarious. The people with the scarf company were so incredibly polite and wonderful and it was a great evening.

While at dinner I mentioned that I wanted to see a real-live Hindi Bollywood movie. Of course, several nights later, they invited us to see a Hindi Bollywood movie. Sunday night we saw “Oh My God” or “OMG” and while watching the flick munched on popcorn, French fries, sweet corn, and Fanta orange drink. Whooweeeee, they love their food. I am so grateful they invited us because although I cannot understand the language, the movies are easy to follow, and the dancing and singing is so fun to watch. The seats in the movie theatre tilt back, and there is an intermission in the middle of the movie.

Where we saw "OMG!" 

I have been doing a lot of research about Bollywood since seeing the film and I am going to watch more Bollywood movies because this industry keeps changing India even though they may not realize it.

Sending smiles from India,
Hannah Dobie

P.S. Some other photos worth showing:  

Can't believe my absentee ballot arrived! Now, it's on it's way back to Nashville. 

The way we transport pizzas in Guwahati for pizza night (Kristin is photographed). 

1 comment:

  1. Hannah, I love reading your blog. Seeing your big beautiful smile makes me know you're doing something that makes you happy. You have a wonderful soul. Thanks for sharing. We're all very proud of you!
    Elisha Zander