As a Fishel fellow, I was placed in India with JDC Entwine Multi-Week Global Jewish Service Corps with Gabriel Project Mumbai, and I am now working in Berlin as a JDC Entwine Global Jewish Service Corps fellow.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

First Time Out of the Slum

It’s been awhile since I wrote anything, but that’s not because of any shortage of things to write! I’ll try to write a few entries over the next couple days.

Teaching in the slums has been amazing.  We’re really starting to build relationships with the kids, and they’re learning so much.  Last Sunday we took them on their first field trip to the JCC.  For most, if not all of them, it was their first time out of the slum, which was difficult to comprehend.  Their parents dressed them in their nicest clothes- the girls wore these colorful, sequined festival dresses, and the boys' hair was oiled and combed.  Most of the kids stared out the window of the bus for the entire hour-long bus ride pointing at new sights with huge smiles on their faces.  A few of them were nauseous and probably a little overwhelmed, this being their first time on a bus.  Some of the kids starting to sing "Wheels on the Bus" and "I Like to Eat Apples and Bananas," songs we taught them in class. We were so proud.

We had such a great time the rest of the day with the kids at the JCC.  We played games, did science experiments and learned about the solar system and the water cycle.  The JCC also provided 2 meals for them, complete with ice cream at the end.  I don’t know if any of them had ever tried ice cream before- it definitely didn’t look like it! 

My little buddies Raju (6 years old) and Aspak (5 years old)
First time eating ice cream!

I have never seen kids so well-behaved, especially with all the excitement around them, but they really were just happy to be there.  They were amazed by the simplest things like paper towels and the toilet which they would never see in the slum.

Our students were joined by Jewish children who are part of the JDC’s Gan Katan program.  It was very powerful to see these middle to upper class Jewish kids playing with the Hindu and Muslim kids from the slum.  It was so obvious that these groups of children come from two completely different worlds, but they were able to play games and sing songs together, completely oblivious of their differences.  

On the bus ride home, most of the children fought hard to stay awake but eventually zonked out after such a long, exciting day.  

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