Monday, March 3, 2008

...and counting.

Ohhhh the week of all weeks. We are here, in the heart of our last week at Harka, and couldn't ask for a crazier one. You know how at times you feel like time is flying and at times it is crawling? Yesterday crawled. Kumari and Prim have started leaving the orphan home for extended periods of time without telling us where they are going (Prim probably to gamble, Kumari always comes back with some small package of vegetables, as if it takes 4 hours to get caulifower), the children have exams this week (meaning they only go to school for 2 hours, one day this week), Ramesh has become utterly obnoxious (I have begun to think he is not only a 14 year old, but an annoying one at that), and this morning the cute rickshaw driver that Becca and I have a shared crush on learned of said crush- aka minor embarassment.

A glimpse of the monsoon came yesterday at about 3pm, when the sky turned that erie green/orange color and the wind picked up immensely. Whilst screaming at children to get the chickens and buffalo inside, Becca and I clamored around stripping the clotheslines of all articles and rushing the children indoors. Tulie ran up to me with her pants off screaming, "Gu! Gu!" (aka poop), at which point I rushed with her to the latrine. We would spend a solitary 30-45 minutes in there, as golfball-sized hail pummelled around us. It was probably the safest location at the orphan home actually, as it is entirely made of brick, and it was quite an adventure watching the water rise and the hail fall around us through the little 1' window. When we could finally make it safely back to the orphan home, the kids were having a field day screaming and dancing (you couldn't hear anything with the din from the tin roof, it was awesome), and the rain didn't stop for near an hour. When it did cease, and the clamor of rain-dancing died down, we made dinner. I have to say, it was the first dinner I successfully prepared myself with minimal help (though I did not make the Daal, that was thanks to Sarswoti).

When Kumari returned, just in time for food to be served, she even had the decency to tell me it was "Meetu" (tasty). This was much appreciated, as in the past few days I have become more and more annoyed with the house parents than I ever have been before. Before it was just random outbursts in the middle of the night, loud TV watching at all hours of the day/night, their nature with children (emotionally abusive, they use a tactic of "fear" in place of "respect" that I have never seen before), but now it has moved to a whole different level. When Kumari's shoes broke yesterday, she assumed we would buy her new ones. She and Prim have started (trash) talking about us with Ramesh (oldest boy) as if we had no idea what they were talking about. Becca and I have both yelled at Ramesh for extended periods of time in the past two days about respecting your elders, but I'm sure it hasn't sunk in. Overall, it's hard when the three oldest people at the orphan home don't respect you, but everyone else seemingly does. Over the next few days, we'll both be spending a ton of time with the kids, while avoiding the parents and most likely Ramesh. I know that I don't want anything putting a damper on the last days with the people that do matter- after all, the reason we came was to love on the kiddos.

Wo. Didn't mean to be Debbie Downer there. I feel like on the whole these blog posts have been positive though, sometimes a reality check is necessary. On a lighter note, I'd like to take the time to put a little somethin somethin up about Sirjana, my second-to-last blog entry about a child (my final entry will be about Ramesh, but as I'm not in the most positive frame of mind right now for that, I'll do it later).

Sirjana...aka my right hand...aka Nepali diva extraordinaire. As the oldest girl at Harka (11) Sirjana definitely rakes it in as the D-I-V-A. But not in a bad way. She's the girl who picks out my lice, holds my right hand on the way to school, does my hair (and gives me hairclips galore to adorn myself with), does a large part of the cooking, and loves prettying herself up. I never thought a girl who was so seemingly far from myself at that age (aka huge dorkwad) would win my heart so much. Sometimes I have to step back and remind myself that this girl is only 11, because at times she seems at least 16 or 17.

Sirjana is gorgeous. Her hair was shaved a few months ago because of lice (as all the girls' were), and she is definitely the one who misses it the most. She talks about long hair all the time, and I remember one of the first days we were here she spent at least an hour braiding (and re-braiding, and re-braiding) mine. She uses anything she can find (including, at one point, sticks and leaves) as earrings/necklaces/bracelets, and will go to Rita our neighbor for eyeshadow. She did remind me of myself yesterday when she wanted to show me a dance she had been practicing (which was amazing, actually) but wouldn't let me smile or laugh as I stood and watched. I had to stand completely somber in the doorway until it was finished. I remember doing the same thing to my mom- I wanted her to see something I did, but it embarassed me too much if she reacted before it was finished!

She's definitely what I would call goofy, but not as goofy goofy as Sima. Goofy in a more girly way. When she says something funny or messes up her English (which has become great in the time we've been here) she sticks her tongue out a little bit and makes a disgusted face that always makes me laugh. Sirjana never asks us for anything, but she has hinted at my earrings a few times, and I'm still narrowing down which ones to leave with her when we go. And though she can be sassy as all get out, in the past week (most likely having something to do with our looming departure) she has become more affectionate than usual. She wraps her arms around my waist at least 5 times a day (because, again, she's a Nepali 11 year old, very tiny indeed.), sometimes to make me "dance" with her American-style, which is somewhere between ballroom and swing and basically just means holding hands, moving back and forth, and dipping occasionally. I think I can safely say that Sirjana is the closest thing to a little sister that I have ever had!

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