We have three rotations that we do here at Rising Star: 1) construction, 2) medical and 3) education. We do one each day. Then in the evenings we hang out with the kids, have dinner with the other volunteers on the roof, and then we go help the “housemothers” read and speak English with the kids before they settle down for bed. On our first day our rotation was construction. We loaded up in the van and headed out to what they call the “art colony” because it is one of the bigger leprosy colonies where many of them have become artists to help the community a little bit. Our project had to do with the latrines and septic tanks Rising Star is helping to re-do in the community. The first one was to move this huge pile of dirt below: …into these holes in the latrine:(That’s Carl the awesome service coordinator up there.) With these pans: …and an archaic continually breaking shovel I wish I had a good picture of. Wow, I will say that it sure made for some great team-work. This was the lady’s house we were working on: Talk about a sweet woman. She sat right down and made us some Indian flower pieces for our hair.…and even came out to help us dig a little bit. She was quite the gardener and had a beautiful garden out by the latrine. I got to go in her kitchen: …and see these beautiful rice cakes she makes for a living: The pastor came on by to help us out as well. He converted to Christianity when his son was two and needed heart surgery. So many great people-stories here. This was someone’s bath over the fence: I love these chalk drawings (I think they’re called ringavalla??) people put in front of their homes to ward off evil spirits. Most of the people who are Hindu have this elephant sign in front of their houses. We ate lunch in this picturesque spot swarmed with flies and open sewage running along on the right (not in the picture). Then we split up to fill in the gaps around some of the septic tanks Rising Star has put in. The teenagers took this one:(That bike was just in an alleyway…I liked it) Brynne and Mike did this one: …and Dave and I did the one behind this sweet lady’s house. When we went back to help the kids this cute lady had brought them out some figs and crackers. I don’t know who these guys were hanging out there on the sidelines too, but man alive they sure had great faces.Isn’t that lady awesome? Mike made great friends with the guy who lived in the house belonging to the last latrine we worked on. He lives in that little one-bedroom house with his wife and two grown daughters. This one was the toughest project because it was SO incredibly hot right out in the sun and we were all pretty dehydrated by then. Here are the kids when we were done…I LOVE Max’s expression (and the back of his shirt). A little hard work never hurt anyone. Have I mentioned it is hot here? Like, SUPER hot? The next stop was the art school where many of the residents afflicted with leprosy come to do their art. These stacks were for sale. These two were the ones Dave, Max, Elle and I narrowed down to: And here we are with the artist of the one we chose:He looks super excited that we bought his art, don’t you think? This guy was a little happier:Sweetie-pie is what I say about that. On the way home we stopped to buy some coconut water on the side of the road from this beautifully-dressed woman in her little shack. Here’s Elle pretending to be in love with that thing: But don’t let that sweet face fool you…she’s exactly like her mother was at that age and doesn’t much want to touch all this India stuff with a ten-foot pole. She did try it though, and what I should have taken is a picture of her face after that first swallow went down:) After that it was back to the Rising Star campus to turn “Indian” again: …and hang out with the kids we are so quickly falling in love with. Here are some of my fav. girls: We have dinner on the roof each night and talk about our highs and lows of the day along with the other forty volunteers. We eat off of banana leaves and it it actually pretty good. Then we go hang with the kids and read with them before bed (we don’t take cameras in that quiet-down time). Loving it here. It’s going to be rough to leave these cute kids.