February 10-25, 2012

Day 2

Today we woke up and had a shower, now known as a "bucket party". Pop-tarts were on the menu for breakfast. While half of the group went to the bank and store, a few stayed and were pleasantly surprised by a monkey turf war in the street just outside. Apparently seeing monkeys is quite rare in Hyderabad, according to Barb’s daughter Nikki. After the group came back, we walked up to the main street to catch a bus to the old city. The buses here are still segregated by gender—women in the front and men in the back. The girls got to pose with some really cute kids and there were smiles all around especially from the little girl who scored a Kit-Kat from Mahie. From the bus stop, we all crowded on a fleet of autos. When we arrived at the school, we were greeted by the principal and his wife who were known strictly as sir and ma’am . They told us a little about their school; most of the kids spoke at least four languages by the time they were six, it was a Muslim school, and they had a champion cricket team. We walked through the school drinking Sprite out of plastic cups. Every time we poked our head into a classroom we were greeted by grins and enthusiastic waves from the children. We eventually got split up into groups of boys and girls. The boys went off to participate in a prayer and then get their butts kicked in a game of cricket. The girls went into the girls school to meet with other girls who were around our age. We went from class to class and sang songs with them  and taught them how to play hand games like slide.  Then we sat down and they gave us all henna! It was so much fun to talk to them about their lives and learn how to do henna. After we were done we said ‘shakria’ and walked back over to the boys school to meet up with the other half of our group. We all walked to a restaurant a few blocks away and had a meal consisting of chicken biriyani and dal (as the vegetarian option.) The chai here has taken a little bit of getting used to—very different from American chai but still delicious. After dinner we took autos to Charminar to look at the mosque and walk through the bazaar. . We arrived home after a long, cramped auto ride and collapsed, exhausted in our bunks ready for a solid night of Z-catching. –Laura