And The Heat Begins

According to google, it is just shy of 97F here in Faridabad. It’s actually a very pleasant dry heat during the day. If it was like this in DC, I’d be sitting out on my porch in my bikini with a dirty lemonade, a bowl of blackberries, and a book. I very much wish I could do this in the afternoons here… just go up to the roof and bask in it like a cat. What a scandal I’d cause – the entire neighborhood would be on their roofs gossiping about the crazy tattooed white girl in her immodest bathing suit.

At night, when the power goes out (which it does every few hours for indeterminate lengths of time) it’s unbearable. We usually keep the door and windows shut so our little electrical bug killer can do its job effectively, but when the power is out it can’t work and there’s no air circulation, creating a double whammy of heat and bugs. My mild asthma always kicked up due to the drop in temperature – I’ve never had a problem with the heat, just the cold. Until now. I find myself coughing at night, and the usual chest tightness that comes with it makes it really difficult to breathe and thus sleep. Ellis (my roommate) and I are currently in a tug of war over that – I want to open the windows after an hour or so of the power being out so I can breathe and she doesn’t want to be a feast for mosquitoes. It’s a crappy situation either way.
So, the nights are brutal. I wear long sleeves and long pants in a largely successful effort to avoid getting eaten alive, but when the fan cuts out, they cling to the layer of sweat that forms and I wish desperately that sleeping naked was an option. If only that wouldn’t turn into a mosquito-driven competition for Creative Places To Get Bug Bites.

Nights like that mean I turn off my alarm in the morning and skip my morning yoga, only to be woken up to the boys screaming at eight in a morning in that high pitched way young boys do when forced to take a bath. Then I go to my project, which for the past week or so I’ve been very unhappy with (as noted). So mornings, despite usually being my favorite time of the day, I’ve started to really hate.

The heat is getting to the project as well. I’ve always described the neighborhood that I teach in as a “near-slum.” I’ve seen slums. These women have four actual walls and a roof (most of the time) as well as their own water pump (most of the time), so I don’t usually classify their neighborhood as a slum. Poorer than anything I’ve encountered in the United States, perhaps, but not a slum. With the heat comes the flies, which are noticeable everywhere in my sector (when I wrote the draft of this in my journal, I counted twelve flies on the table I was writing on), but on the way to the project the air is thick with them. The stench of the neighborhood’s sewage, garbage, and livestock grows exponentially with every degree the temperature rises, and every day the line between near-slum and slum gets thinner and more difficult to determine.

This morning I was particularly cranky (multiply all that by the fact that my period should be arriving any day now) and sulky about having to go to a project I no longer like on a Saturday. I’m glad I went. It was the first day in what I think is over a week – from what I can tell, since Ellis got here, as she has never known the project the way that I have – that the project was women-oriented again. I really, really needed that. I needed Afsanah to make that facial expression when she learned how close tomato and potato were. I needed the actual conversation in Hindi (!) that I had with Karenesha. I needed it to just be the half dozen plus of the familiar women on the floor, without the overwhelming amount of children with high pitched “Mem’s” all talking at once. The children’s presence shuts the women up fast, which is even more frustrating than the general process of teaching the children.
I could learn to hate children and men here, but that’s a different entry entirely (the men one has already been written, if you’ve been following. My feelings in regards to that entry hasn’t changed).

So, it was a good project today. Here’s to hoping that Monday is as good, if not better.

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