Welcome to India

This blog is intended to make a country that most Westerners find to be otherworldly not so much so. We enjoy sharing our experiences, noting our observations, highlighting our impressions and otherwise recounting our adventures in India while helping our blogwatchers to be vicariously closer to this grand country. Welcome to India.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Central Key to Fighting Global Poverty? Really?

Statistically, these girls are already bound for a dramatically improved life.

Our hope is to see 200 more children like Bhavani pick up a pen and paper this year!

The Bonakal girls proudly display their school uniforms, a sign of dignity in Indian society.

Rohitha can't wait to learn!

When girls like this learn, societies worldwide improve.

Educate Eve.

Teach your girls.

Empower the women!

Anthropologists, sociologists, economists, global health professionals and so many others are starting to agree that as women’s education goes, so goes society.

It’s probably not that simple, but it does not have to be complicated. 

If you educate women, you:
  • Empower women to make their own decisions in their lives regarding marriage and the number of children they will have, dramatically impacting small towns and villages that still make up so much of the world’s impoverished people.
  • Provide women confidence to speak out against child marriage, a common and accepted reality of life in so many parts of the developing world.
  • Directly help families with health and nutrition, which is closely linked with educational level.
  • Increase the likelihood that women marry someone of similar or higher educational level, improving the family unit and future for the children.
  • Improve the national economy as women’s education is statistically associated with economic growth and prosperity in countries that desperately need it.
  • Give so many other opportunities to improve society when women have a say in their lives and the lives of their children...

There is a reason extremist groups often direct their attacks at girls’ schools.  

Boko Haram expressly means “Western education is a sin.”

Next week we at Covenant Children’s Homes will be offering a chance for you to sponsor orphaned and abandoned Indian girls (and boys) in their pursuit of education, as well as proper nutrition and the spiritual growth that rounds out a holistic life. 

If you've read this blog this far, you already care.  

Now (next week) you can make a huge difference, and statement in the lives of young women and future families.

200 more CCH children are in need of education – can you help?  

Monday, February 2, 2015

Super Bowl Monday, and Other Fun(ny) Facts of Life in India

A worldwide event in 2015.  5am in India.

This cone is a delicious breakfast treat called dosa.

One of the most enjoyable times in India is my haircut and shave...

CCH Father's Conference - can you find me?

Jaya's personality is, well, developing.

Is there anything you find strange about this sign in a local restaurant?

When I lived in Europe, I had to stay up literally all night when the Super Bowl was from 12:30am – 4:30am.  Super Bowl Monday.

Our first year in India, we had to have a friend set up Skype on the computer camera directly in front of his TV.  For four hours.  (They actually went out to dinner and came back while we sat "there" watching.)

Last night, or actually, this morning starting at 5am – much better than compared to Europe – we just had to sign in to NBC’s first-ever free Super Bowl online livestream.  All we needed was a decent wifi connection and no power outages. 

Fortunately, India cooperated.

Another successful Super Bowl overseas viewing.  (This time we even projected it onto our apartment wall for 10 foreigners who came over bright and early.)

Six of the past nine years overseas in early February. 
Never missed one Super Bowl. 

Does this say anything about my cross-cultural proficiency? 
I hope not.

Here are some other recent fun(ny) facts of our time in India:

Overnight train?  Nah, overnight bus!
It’s a 7-hour bus ride from Hyderabad to our former headquarters of Ongole.  Lately, I’ve been taking the overnight bus starting about 10pm, which is set up like a European train, four beds-per-compartment.  Bumpidty-bump-bump-bump as you sleep while hovering India’s pot-holed roads.  It’s time efficient, if not sleep-conducive as you pull in to start your day at 5am.

Film Nagar – “Tollywood”
Our Hyderabad headquarters is located in a well-known studio area of Hyd called “Film Nagar.”  Apparently there are often movie stars around, but we certainly wouldn’t know it.  Since the local language is “Telugu,” the world’s 11th most spoken language, the film industry for this state is called “Tollywood.”  Hollywood and Bollywood should watch out!

Take a sip, but don’t let a foreigner try it!
Sometimes groups of Indians will have a shared cup for water or juice or whatever else.  One cup is all you need because all Indians learn very young to position the cup above their mouth and just pour it in, without touching the cup to their lips.  Clean, simple, dry, no germs.  That is until a foreigner comes in and tries it….

Generic Metropolitan Culture Worldwide
Subway, McDonald’s, KFC, Domino’s and, yes, now Starbucks are as common here in the bigger cities as they are at home.  While I like to complain about generic mega-cities the world over, we also have patroned all of these since returning to India in November.

PDA – India-style
You are much more likely to see two men holding hands in affection and friendship here than you are to see any man and woman displaying affection for all to see.  And there is also no cultural gender association to pink or blue.  Boys and girls wear them both.

Obama’s Recent Visit
Was exciting for Indian news media, but the Indians we speak with on a daily basis just shrugged their shoulders.  North India seems like a wholly different country sometimes around here, the south.

Jaya is Trending!
If you read this far, you are probably more dedicated than the estimated 2 -300 blog readers/hits the Rickshaw Writer receives each week. 

Except when Jaya is in the title.  Then the hits double.