Monday, September 16, 2013

Student Post:Weekend Home stays (Part 2)

Last weekend the students had the chance to go on a home stay with a friend from college. This is simply an extension of the last post- giving the students the chance to tell of their adventures in their own words.
Gretchen and Faith:
Outside their house
When we first came to India, we were “warned” about the hospitality—as in, be careful what you ask for, because they might actually give it to you.  This weekend, we discovered how true that really is.  Our guidebook related the phrase “the guest is like God,” which completely described our experience in Karuna’s home.  We experienced eating on banana leaves (only done for special occasions), receiving flowers for our hair every day, having multiple dishes prepared for us at every meal, being accepted as an “akka” (sister) by Karuna’s younger cousin, meeting Karuna’s extended family, having Karuna’s father come home from Chennai (at least a 7-hour journey) just to meet us, always being asked if we were comfortable, being fed all the time—and ultimately, having Karuna’s father buy saris for both of us at the end of our stay there!  Their hospitality was incredibly humbling, and although we saw some amazing things there (like a banana plantation) and got to bond with her family (playing card games with the girls), it was the hospitality that really made the weekend memorable for us.  

Our very hospitable home stay family!

Tayler and Tina: 
At the top of the hill we climbed
So, imagine you’ve just traveled on an Indian bus for five long hours. You step out of the crowded bus into the cool mountain air and you are in Kerala, “God’s own country”! We took an auto (a small three-wheeled “car” with no doors) to Pratiksha’s (our new friend) house where we were welcomed with open arms. While there, we never were hungry, tired or hot. We had a blast in Kerala. The first day we took an adventure up the mountain. Our journey started at the bottom of the hill and we made it all the way to the white cross at the very tippy top. Below we could see a Catholic church and hear music echo throughout the area. The long bus ride was worth it because once we made it to Kerala our eyes were able to take in so many beautiful sights that we know will stick with us forever. The second day we went to “church” which really means we went to a tea museum 2 hours away. We drank Kerala’s cardamom tea and were able to see how it was made (hands with dried tea in them). The best part was we also got to see a wild elephant while at Pratiksha’s uncle’s house (note the river picture)!!! We loved every moment spent there with Pratiksha and her family in our new favorite place: Kerala, India.

Dried tea leaves

Near where we saw the wild elephant

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