In the morning, we finished our visit with the Motherly Love project and painted our hands and signed a cloth to hang in the center.
Then, after lunch, we packed up from the dorms and got on the bus for a seven-hour bus ride. We occasionally stopped, like when crossing into a different state or when we stopped once for chai and snacks. We had difficulty getting the vendor to give us our change back, but we fought with him until he did. The persistence made me feel guilty because it was mere rupees and he clearly had several starving children watching us from the rooftop, but honesty always wins.
The children behind the chai shop who didn’t even know what “US” or “America” is.
Upon entering the Jaipur area, we passed through a mountain and realized how many more camels are out this way. We continued in the direction of Pakistan, getting into a hotter, desert-like terrain. In Jaipur, we went down a street that was literally the division between the slums and some nice complexes. The slums were surprisingly not bad, in my opinion. Although the queues for water were long and the shacks were stacked virtually on top of each other, everyone was wearing nice clothes. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen a poorly-dressed Indian. We learned then about a government program that buys up the slums and builds houses to relocated the people so that the property value goes up in the nicer places and that the area is improved.
Residents of the Jaipur slums, waving at our coach bus as we passed.
It was after nightfall by the time we arrived at Barefoot College in Tilonia of Rajastan. The roads were ridiculously bumpy, even if they were paved. It was too late to do anything in the program, so we went for dinner. We grabbed silver trays, served ourselves, then sat on rugs on the floor, barefoot, and ate in a circle. We learned that the entire campus is solar powered. Then we washed our own dishes, grabbed our luggage, and proceeded to the rooms. These rooms must have been 100F. Although we had ceiling fans and screened windows, it wasn’t enough. Some people preferred mosquitoes over a closed room that was hotter, so they pulled their mattresses out to the terrace and slept outside. I listened to the train in the distance and was able to fall asleep, only waking up occasionally to drink water. The air was so hot and dry that I would wake up in the middle of the night from dehydration due to my breathing the air.
I have now slept outside in the winter in Alaska and the summer in India – bring it world!