by Erika D’Costa and Ciara Naughton
This week in Sumanahalli, we visited Support on Monday and Tuesday. Support houses people affected by HIV/AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus/ Acquired Immune Deficiency Disorder) – According to a 2013 report by the United Nations, India has the third largest population of people living with HIV in the world; with figures indicating as much as 2.1 million people affected by HIV in India alone. At Support, we drew with the patients there; we were amazed at the high standard of drawing that they portrayed. One patient drew a prehistoric picture of dinosaurs; while another patient drew very detailed flowers. Meanwhile, Erika and I thought we were the bees knees when we drew flowers and a butterfly! To top it all off, before we left Support, the heavens opened and it poured rain for at least 3 hours! Our way back to Ave Maria, the road was nearly impassable due to all the rain! On Tuesday, we played a game called Carrom – which is a mix between air hockey and pool. We were all in stitches laughing at how terrible we were at Carrom. It is a surprisingly challenging to play, but eventually we got the hang of it!
On Wednesday and Thursday, we were invited to a neighbouring school, St. Antonie Claret’s School, to teach them a little about our culture in Ireland. We played some Irish music, did some Céilí dancing, sang our national anthem and we taught them all about or culture such as food, weather, animals, languages, and our national sports of GAA and Hurling. On Thursday, we got to teach some of the pupils how to play GAA and hurling. It was so much fun teaching them how to play; and to our surprise some of boys and girls picked it up very quickly!
Thursday evening, we got to play rugby with some of the kids from Ave Maria and from the neighbouring houses with one of the Spanish volunteers. It was great fun teaching them; we had some laughs along the way and even had a few slip of the fingers. We also played some badminton that evening with the kids. We had bought them two new shuttlecocks but unfortunately….. the emus ate them within two minutes!!
As we hit the half way mark and we reflect back on our time here so far, we cannot believe how much we have experienced and learned in a mere two weeks. We are so happy to be working in this community and are overwhelmed by the kindness, warmth and welcome we have received here at Sumanahalli. It really is a village of good hearts and we cannot wait to see what the next two weeks have to bring!