A day for Emily:
Snuggled up under my wool blanket, I am awoken by my host family chatting away in Hindi. I open my eyes and absorb the soft glow of the pre-sunrise light and take in my surroundings: the small mud patio I am sleeping on and my host brothers Lalito and Rukase coming toward me to say good morning. I get out of bed and am greeted wit the news that mother water buffalo gave birth last night. I walk over to see the surprisingly large baby suckling from its mother. My host mother (Mama ji) comes over and milks mama buffalo to make their specialty milk porridge. I watch her heat the milk over the fire, it curdling with red globs in it. It looked disgusting but when I acted out the question “do you eat it?” she responded with an excited nod and belly rub. So, of course, I got to try it that night. It was very tasty with the jaggery (raw sugar) they added (the red globs had been taken out).
Our nights consist of playing, prancing, and singing songs with their five kids. They are all so sweet and we have connected so much.
Jhadol is a tiny bustling town sitting on the edge of the desert. The people are very friendly from what we understand from our gesturing and limited Hindi. Our home stays are in mud houses with terra cotta roofs and mud walls. The house has a barn attached by a partial walls so you fall asleep to the noises of goats and water buffaloes. You tend to wake up in the middle of the night to donkeys braying, rosters crowing, and dogs barking (for what seems like no reason). We walk to and from the houses on dirt road with a herd of local kids following us. Jhadol is a mix of smiles, laughter, and animals (everywhere!).
From Paige’s Point of View:
Home stays are like nothing I had expected. My dad is an almost silent member. Mom does all the work and smiles happily as she does and Grandma is the smallest person I have ever seen. Though we only spend a small amount of time together at night and in the mornings, we spend as much as much of it laughing as possible. This is usually possible thanks to water buffalo, the goat with a cold, and the parrot that (I believe) plots our death at night from its tiny cage. It was an amazing experience and my favorite part was watching Grandma crawl into bed every night and roll up into what looked like a jelly bean.