Kolkata is polluted. Kolkata is dirty. Kolkata is full of beautiful people.
My family here is wonderful. Molly Ehling and I (the other MN girl, she goes to Augsburg) live in a flat with a mother named Shamilla, her 15 year old daughter Ahona, the housekeeper Joba, and the reclusive older brother. They are such wonderful people; living with them feels like a home away from home – while living here they give us our privacy, and we still have those awkward “silent moments” since we do’nt know each other that well yet – they treat us like we were their own family.
Out of the three homestays, we live in the least expensive, the least decorated, the least posh, and the least amount of anemities – but I wouldn’t give it up for anything. Choosing between a family that feels like home instead of just an apartment to stay in is no contest. The other two host families are cordial enough, but awkward kind of. One is just a woman and her maid, who is a little strict and always trying to force feed the girl who stays there and has an early curfew. The other is a mixing bowl of people, but the two students live in a next door apartment, the family behind their closed door. Nice enough, but distant.
Though we haven’t chosen our service agency yet, we have visited them all. Mother Teresas Shisu Bhuvan (childrens home), Nirmal Hrday (dying home), Loreto Rainbow School, Bengal Womens Union. It is such a difficult choice, I can’t figure out where God wants me placed and I’m needed. All are put together organizations, but all have their pros and cons in my life. Shishu Bhuvan would consist of playing with kids for the 4 hours of service a day, infants to toddlers. Loreto Rainbow School would be all teaching, and the craziest kids. Bengal Womens Union would be an amalgamation of getting kids ready, playing with them, and teaching school. Nirmal Hriday isn’t as shocking as I pictured. It is pretty much the clean 3rd world equivelant of a small nursing home. Yes, the state the dying are in is a bit shocking, but they are all so happy and blessed to have people to care for them. That would be pretty much feeding, washing, interacting with, and giving meds to the people.
Being in the city pretty much this whole time will be a challenge. I’m a girl used to wide open spaces with clean air and space to breathe. The shops here are stacked upon each other and people make their homes along every road. Plus there are literally ZERO street signs, you have to look on the shops to see where you are, and no streets run NSEW! ha ha… But thats the beauty of it – you really have to appreciate the beauty of the small things.
Our college is beautiful a haven amidst the chaos of the city. We have only had one class there, but it will be great to get to know the girls there and interact with the teachers.