Tuesday, September 2, 2014

{Thottanaval Village}

Our school campus is about 1/4 mile past a small little village out in rural Tamil Nadu. We love to leave campus and walk or bike ride through the village on little outings. 
This is our view walking into the village from our campus.

On campus, we have running water--CLEAN DRINKABLE water coming out of our tap...well, one side of our tap, to be clear.  The other side we lovingly call "Typhoid Water". 
When my kids are filling up a pot or washing out a water bottle, they will often ask, "Clean water or Typhoid water, mom?" It just makes me laugh. 
But back to the village...
In the village they have a few central water tanks where everyone goes to fill up their plastic or metal water jugs. They do not have cleaner drinking water...that IS their drinking water (what we call Typhoid water)...but we would get sick if we drank it.

Life in the village seems so very different than anything we have in the States. Sometimes I come back home and just sit here, amazed that we live on the same earth...but we have such different existences. 

I have never personally seen village life before and it is a startling contrast to the life I live at home.

These women still do their laundry using buckets and a large flat stone...and I am telling you, they get their clothes cleaner than my machines at home.
Walk through the village in the morning, and every third person you see is sitting on his front stoop brushing his teeth. Life is just lived out in the open...many doors don't even have front doors on them.

The homes vary greatly even within this tiny little strip of residences. Some people live in these huts...

And some people live in brick and concrete boxes like you can see on the right... 

These men were busy repairing the roof of this hut.

Some people live in slightly embellished or very embellished brick and concrete homes that are then decorated with tile and iron work.

This happens to be the home of a Rising Star employee that lives in the village.

This was a beautiful rangoli we saw one day. These are often done every morning outside the front door of the house and are meant as a blessing.

There are always chickens, roosters, turkeys, cows, and goats wandering around.
These are all harmless and quite fun to see at times. The first time we went to the village a turkey kept following us around and Cohen wished he could bring it home with us. : )  He says that going into the village makes him miss our chickens!

Do you think we stick out at all?  : )

One day they were having some sort of celebration and had decorated this little side lane. I just love how festive they can make things with paper and strings and a few balloons.

This is the village school. I think Tamil writing is so beautiful...I only wish I could recognize the letters more easily. But, just FYI, Tamil has 247 letters in their "alphabet". There are 30 Main Letters and then the rest are derived from those.  I wish it were an easier language to learn!

The children are always running out and saying "HI!!" or "BYE". And if they are a little older, they will smile and say, "How are you?" But that is normally about all the English that they know.

The most common reason we go into the village is so that the kids can shop at the little village store. They get cookies for 5 rupees or a couple single Milkybar Caramels for 1 rupee. On allowance day, when they are feeling rich with their 100 rupees ($1.66), they might splurge and get a soda for 30 rupees (50 cents). Looking forward to these little village trips is the only thing that kept Cohen going on those really hard days when we first got here!

The village people are very friendly....the village dogs? Not so much. They growl at us and bark and generally freak us out. If a villager is around, they will yell at the dog and it normally leaves us alone, but the other day when I was running with Camry and Liberty, there was a particularly mean dog at the very beginning of the village that I had to threaten with a large rock.  I was scared to do that, but it worked--he immediately stopped following us. 

(I was following a tip from some of the older boys at our school. They said that all I needed to do was pick up a rock and act like I was going to throw it.)

That large rock is now stashed near a bush for me to pick up every time we 
have to pass that meany. : )


  1. Although circumstances for the average person are much different in Japan, I too sit back and marvel that here we live a life equivalent to a celebrity and still I don't have much of what I had back in good old Spanish Fork. I filter my water here and make my kids powdered milk for cereal in the mornings because that's what they want and I can't possibly pay for or store all the milk our family would need without going to the store every other day. Back home I had my kitchen fridge, my deep freezer in the basement and my garage fridge, as well as my food storage room downstairs so I could shop twice a month and get by just fine! We had built a brand new house, had a large yard, etc. And yet, I find myself so very much enjoying the simplicity of my new life. I spend more time just doing the simple things. It takes more effort to cook, shop, get around in general, etc. and I find that Shane and I are both so much more concentrated on our family and just doing the basics together and very selectively choosing the things most important to us and our family and everything else seems to just fall away. Life isn't as "easy" but it certainly feels more fulfilling. What is it about having to literally eat by the sweat of your brow that just makes you so darn happy?! I love this change and wish everyone could experience it. Not only does it make you grateful for what you have, the natural stripping away of the inconsequential is so liberating! Hope you're having a wonderful time. :)

  2. Hey Rebecca,
    I have a random question for you. Do you know of any adoption agencies in India? I feel like I am done bearing children, but I don't feel like our family is complete. Since we have 4 boys, I have dreamed of having 4 girls too. I'm so grateful for the 2 I have, but I feel like maybe we're supposed to have 2 more. Anyway, a friend of mine was telling me about the documentary "It's a Girl" that discusses all of the "gendercide" (aborting, abandoning, and killing) of babies simply because they are girls in India and China. My heart just broke and I thought I want to adopt all of those baby girls! Anyway, if you have any info I would love to hear about it. I love reading your blog and seeing your amazing adventures! Oh yes, please feel free to email me (reil.fun@gmail.com) or message me on facebook =).