Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I am now a "NORMAL VOLUNTEER". This is a high and a low. A high because now i get to interact with the other volunteers that i live with. A low because I love working with the teachers and the school so much.

So some of you may be asking....a normal volunteer, what does that mean. Well first off, I'm still my weird goofy self(that will never change) but i am now apart of group #3 and we get to rotate through the different jobs that need to get done. There are 3 categories of jobs. #1 is Construction; #2 is Education; and #3 is medical.

I have done the first 2 already. With construction we moved about 300 cinder blocks, 500 bricks, and 80 pans of rocks. and these are all low estimates. I didn't mind it as much, the hardest part was the brick dust that got in your eyes, nose, and mouth every time the wind blew. The people in the colony though were happy to see us and always waved at me when i waved at them. Come on, who doesnt like to wae at a giant white guy(thats me).

Next with Education, That was today. We stayed in the library and had a student every 20 minutes come in. It was hard with reading, since I am not really trained in tutoring for reading and not that good at it myself. But when it came to math...OH BOY i was excited. I love math(at least the stuff i know). I got to teach the finger trick for anything from 1 to 10 for the 9 table.

Well, other than that, not much is different. Oh i was playing a game with the kids called Go-Go(AKA: tag on crack) and kicked a stick. I am ok. just got a small spot on my massive foot. Dr. Susan(on campus doctor) got it cleaned up and bandage on it and i got my tetnis shot.

Well, off to dinner i go. Love you all.

Tomorrow i will put pictures of me doing construction and medical. WOO HOO

Friday, June 24, 2011

Not sure what to call this post.

Hi everyone.
How are you? Hope the Answer is good. So today is Friday and it is now 5 pm here in India, So 430 am in California.

So I know I have nor written all week and i am sorry. I have been busy working all week with the school getting ready for the transfer from one principal to another. It takes some hard work to make that happen smoothly. I hope it all works out on monday. The acting Principal up to today was totally amazing. She postponed her own trip to thailand so she could help the school more. The official Principal is working on her VISA in the states and having a difficult time at it. Now we have a coordinator from the volunteer group stepping up to the plate. i know she will do amazing, but it is always difficult to go after a school year starts and then change the principal 4 weeks into the year. Oh well. worse things have happened.

So if you follow my blog i stated in my last one that i would be becoming an official "normal volunteer" last monday...... that did not happen. April asked if i could stay on the final week and the coordinators left the decision up to me. I chose to stay with april for the week. SO... now i think i will be a "normal volunteer" on this monday coming up, but as i have stated before. I will wait till it happens.

OK, Becky Douglas the founder of Rising Star Outreach came here this week. And oh what a wonderful women she is. So sweet, full of love, and has a strong will to do what she puts her heart into. She was here one week(shortest trip she has ever taken) but those 5 days and seeing her work and also hearing her story was just amazing. So she is also leaving today.

Then today the Courtyard Marriott Hotel came to the school and did a little carnival for the kids, with a magician, face painting, Ballon shapes(swords and non swords was the menu) and of course music. The kids loved every moment of it. The Marriott also provided lunch for the kids, which was awesome. It was a lot of fun, but of course there was one down side. My camera had a dead battery :( i wish i had pictures.

Ok the best part of this week though was the after the festival the male teachers were all sitting together and they invited me to sit with them. There we sat, talked, and laughed for about 45 minutes. It was like i was one of them. Then afterwards, We went and played cricket. Thats right. I now know how to play cricket. i am still getting use to it, but it is fun though. It was awesome to feel like someone that belongs here. Not just another volunteer, but as their friend. One of the teachers is getting married at the end of august and invited me to his wedding. Even though i would love to go, i will be back in the states and i have to wait 2 months after leaving India before returning. (India's rules) Another teacher invited me to a festival in his village. I hope i can go, he is getting the exact dates and i will check with the coordinators to see.

Well. I have lots more to do today here in India, so ta ta for now.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Vanakam (hello) :D

Vanakam everyone, hope you are doing good. I know I am doing amazing and now healthy. I have been sick with a cold for exactly one week friday. I had to stay in bed on friday and sunday to get better. IT WAS HORRIBLE. I thought I was better on Saturday and went to a colony near Chingleput (spelling might not be correct) but then got back home and realized i was worse. BLAH. no fun. But after a week of being week, coughing, sneezing, and feeling not so good. I now only have a slight sniffle and i also have energy. YAY. Even though i have been not 100% i have still been working hard with the school and teachers but i think that is coming to a close for me. On monday there is going to be a new Session starting and I am going to be a "normal volunteer" That means instead of being on campus all week, i am going to be in a group and rotate between colonies, construction, and school. This is not 100% for sure yet. I told them as long as i get to go to 3 different colonies I am happy to work where ever they need me. So come monday we will find out.

Here is a funny entry i wrote in my journal the other day:

Dear India,
Please make up your mind. The different weather conditions are weird. One day you are over 100 degrees and the next you are raining beautiful rain. Then back to the heat. Then a high wind rain storm out of no where. But thank you for all your beauty that you

yours truly
Lex the tourist

I thought it was funny that that was on my mind. So i figured i would share it with all of you. Well it is a beautiful saturday and i want to go ride a bike so...here i go.

OH, exciting things going on this weekend is that Becky Douglas(The Founder of Rising Star Outreach) is coming out this weekend. I am really excited to meet her. Ok. i am going out to ride a bike.

Love you all
Me-Lex-Alexander-Me lol

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ok, here is the truth

So, can i just feel like an idiot right now. So this weekend i FINALLY got to go to a colony and asked the million dollar question in my mind. Why doesn't the government help out with leprosy? I got a blank stare from the doctor talking. The Government does help. I fell silent. Then after the meeting i went and talked to the doctor privately. I HAD EVERYTHING WRONG. The government STRONGLY encourages all citizens to be tested for it, AND they offer a cure. FOR FREE. The World Health organization provides all the necessary medicine to cure the people with leprosy.

So now with this new information, you might be wondering what my sister and I are doing here. Pretty much Leprosy is still SOCIALLY a horrible disease, but not the government. The reason there are colonies, is that is where they can live together and help each other. We go out to the colonies and help medically because Leprosy affects the nervous system. Which means when you touch something hot and pull your hand away out of reflect, that is your nervous system reacting and people who have been effected with leprosy don't have those feelings in their hands or feet or both. And this leads to ulcers and other infections because they cant feel anything. Also having leprosy can lead to deformities, that make it difficult to perform daily tasks. so we (or the teams, not me yet) go and help them clean their wounds, and make it so that their ulcers can heal.

So i wanted to say i am very sorry i misinformed any of you, It was not my intentions. I feel really bad for leading some of you astray. So it is now like midnight here and i need to get some sleep. Take care everyone. And i will post blog soon.

Kisses and hugs


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Being Thankfull

Hi everyone,

Hope you are doing amazing where you are at. I know I am. I have fallen in love with the beauty of India(not the heat). So you are probably wondering what i have been doing the last couple of days. Well, I am now Tutoring Teachers with their english. I know you are wondering how i am doing this being one of the worst spellers in the world. But it is pretty simple and fun all at the same time. We get a book from the Library and read it. I read a page, then they re-read what i read, and then in their own words describe to me what they just read. If they have any question about meanings of words or spelling rules they ask me.

I am not really sure why they chose me, but they did. I am learning so much from them as well as teaching them. We started out just talking and having a basic converstion. I have learned a lot about their culture, religion and just the teachers individually. I think the one teacher I connect with the most is Vijayakumar. He is a wonderful man. He has a loving caring heart and just wants to help everyone. Even though that does describe almost everyone here in India. You can just see the genuin concern he has for the students, faculty, and the world.

But getting to the Title of my posting today, Being Greatful. In the two weeks i have been here I have discovered many thing that I myself and possibly others have taken for granit. Like cold water coming from the faucet, continual electricity, clean drinking water readily available, public transportation(you think LA is bad, Come here), cleanliness in public areas, non-government hospitals, and many more. I am so greatful that I will always be greatful for where I come from and where I shall go in my life.

To go into more explanation on a few.

Today when I got drinking water from the clean water faucet, it came out HOT. like i could put chocolate in it and have hot coco.

The last two days the electricity has not been consistent, which means no ceiling fans. Which means non moving HOT air and no lights.

Here on RSO Campus we have drinking water all over campus, but when I am listening to the locals talk, the government only gives them limited amounts of filtered water. At least they are use to the unfiltered water but still. the idea of it.

Public transportation is extremely interesting here. and not in a good way. The other day i saw a bus, driving extremely crooked on the road. Like it was in its own lane and another. Can you say major alignment problem(yes i know what that is now) and also i have see 2 busses turned over, cause they were so over crowded that they tipped.

I just wanted to share what I am greatful for, and hope that everyone takes a moment to think about what you have and be greatful for it.

Love you all and talk to you soon.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

the true attack of the kids.

So, the kids here love taking photos. Wether it is being in them or taking them with your camera. lol. So the kids have taken over 300 pictures with my camera and a lot of them are actually really good. i just went through and honestly grabbed random ones to show you some of them. i think i might do a flickr account or something for all the photos, cause this is not the best or quickest way to go. 

So this weekend we went to Mahamalapuram, which is a tourist town, and got 3 pairs of pants. one pair is Alibaba pants, Fisherman pants, and just nice linen pants. All custom made. I will post pictures on the next post, cause the cardreader is missing right now. but they are awesome. Then we went swimming in the ocean. it was great...till i got stung by a jelly fish. IT HURT. Since i was with a bunch of med students and 2 it doctors they told me i had to pee on it to stop the reaction. I did...was extremely gross. WAIT , dont go looking it up online cause i already did, and found out it doesn't do anything for it. Thank you 2 doctors, pre med students and nursing students for that. So the sting felt like i got electrocuted, but the hotel we were at said there are no Jelly fish in their waters. So the mystery is...What got me? The swelling went down in a couple hours and i have a cool looking rash thing on my wrist. Other than that. I AM DOING GREAT. Loving life and loving just everything really. Food is amazingly simple and delicious. I think i might see if i can get a recipe or two and have an indian dinner night back in the states. Eat off of banana leafs and with our hands. lol FUN!!!! OK i need to go play with the kids now. 

Love you all and talk to you soon.

P.S. I am not going to be having the computer with me till tuesday evening, so just to let you know my post might not be till wednesday. Not sure, we will see. 

P.P.S. Thank you for those who have left comments, it makes it nice to keep writing when i know people are reading. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

attack of the children...AAHHHH

So, getting you all up to date has been a challenge for me, with finding time and all that. But today is the day. you will all be caught up. YAY.

(this is Stephen, we are buddies)

So it is now Thursday June 2nd, 2011 at 3pm. today was not a good day for me because i have been having bad stomache cramps all day and a really bad headache. not a good combo. luckily most of the volunteers this session are nurses or pre-med students, so i have been taken care of. Its nothing to be alarmed about, so please dont be alarmesd. the only bad part is that they had me stay in the room and rest today. so no playing and eating lunch with the kids. :( sad day. 

But yesterday Wednesday, was a good day. I finally got all the teacher's inventory done the right way. Substituted for the last time 6th Standard Science, and delivered mail and messages to the teachers. I know this doesn't sound as grand as going out to the Leprosy Colonies and helping them, but this is important as well. The leprosy-afflicted individuals have their children going to school here at RSO. And this work needs to get done. Everyone on campus has been working 110%, So i am very happy that i can get in there and help out the teachers and the students get what they need. Here are some pictures of Wednesday.

Walking into campus and seeing Amanda (my sister):

These pictures are from lunch time.

Then later that night we DeLiced(shampoo) and DeWormed(a pill they took) the children, i was there taking pictures of the event.

This is Cartic(standing up). He studies Government off campus, but lives here.

Her are the girls getting their hair shampooed

These are the little boys in my Family. Yes, They sleep on a mat on the floor. Its pretty comfortable. Better than sleeping in dirt.

these girls were giggling when i took their picture. 

not sure his name, but he is a rock star with his hairdoo

Stephen and I

i cant remeber his name, it starts with a V.

i think his name is Ashcoft, not sure. But has a great smile


Kala, She is the House Mom of my Family.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rising Star. The Beginning of the Best Summer...EVER

Hello everyone,

So here I am. In the volunteer Hostel at Rising Star Outreach Campus. I am staying in the Banana Room. Check it out:

My bed is the one in the bottom right corner.

And then the rest of the room. 

But the best part of our Hostel is the showers....

Thats right, Indian Bucket Showers. fill the big bucket up, and use a little one to get the water all over.

But if that isnt good enough for you...just wait for the toilets. This is why you do squats when you work out. to prep for the "Rocket Launcher"

3....2....1....and SQUAT. HAHA

OK....now after giving you the grand tour of the bathroom and bedroom, we do still have the luxuries of a kitchen. 

TADA....we now have 3 fridges, microwave, toaster, stove, table, 2 cleaning faucets, 1 drinking faucet, a washer, and a dryer. woo hoo.. the high life. lol. but seriously. its awesome. 

I have gotten some comments about what I have been doing here in India. So here is the dirt. The first day of school was monday. The Principal is in America dealing with Visa problems, and not all teachers were here on monday. So the school was understaffed. Since Monday to today, I have been the assistant to the temporary principal. Thank you Sgt Parker Davis from ANA, for training me to be a good assistant and the bookstore at ANA for dealing with crowds and hot tiny work places. LOL. So here is the Breakdown for what i did each day so far.


AprilMam (for people in authority they say there name and then mam or sir at the end of it. But i am just uncle to the kids) had me do supplies checkout and inventory for each teacher and each class. It was very confusing because no one really knew what we had, what they were called and the teachers knew what they wanted, and what they called it. So after about 10 minutes of working in an area of no organization and no prep, i got the hang of it and got things moving along. 

After supply checkout and inventory, AprilMam had me substitute a class...(YIKES...i can barely get people my age to listen to me....how am i going to get a bunch of 6th standard children too...) So what do i do? Play Hangman with the words being diferent animals. The students know english pretty well. But have problems with their A's N's M's L's and some others. They say yAy, yeN, yeM, and yeLl. so we worked on that.

After the class, it was lunch. i went and ate with the children and had a great time...can i just say forks are overrated. it is so much easier to each rice and curry vegetable sauce stuff with your hand.... :D yum yum yum here is a picture of a boy in my family eating, I think his name is Vegnash.

After lunch I went back to doing inventory. I got back to the hostel around 6pm and ate dinner at 630. We ate dinner on the rooftop of the hostel and ate off of Banana Leafs. We do this every night. i love it. And at dinner we go around and everyone says a High and a Low that they had that day.

For me, My High was getting all the teachers the right books and keeping a detailed record. 
My low was realizing i left my other pair of jeans and both shorts at the hotel in Chennai. (dont worry, I am getting them back today)

Then after that it was off to bed.

Tuesday was exactly the same other than the fact that i helped a new teacher (volunteer teacher from Utah, USA) get situated and ready for teaching. the hard thing about tuesday was that teachers wanted more books, or exchanged the ones that they had to different ones. it got really confusing and found out the way i was suppose to record everything was the wrong way. So, yay for restart and learning how to deal with the Language barrier. 

For tuesday, even though i didnt make it to dinner, my highs and lows were:
High: I remembered 6 names in my family.(the families here at RSO(Rising Star Outreach) are groups of kids ranging from 4 years old to 15 i think, might not be exact. For those of you familiar with ANA or military, It is like a company)

Low:I had to redo all the inventory.

ok, i am out of time. Tomorrow, i will catch you up 100% and stay up to date. Sorry for the delay but we just dont have a lot of time to be online. i have many pictures to share with you. So...Talk to you tomorrow.