There are some pretty frequently asked questions people have asked as we have prepared for our trip. Here are the answers. (And remember, I’m so far from an expert, but I’m trying to learn all that I can.) Why are you in India? I explained my Indian fascination back here. What is the population in India? 1.2 billion people live in India. That is more than in South America and Africa combined. And India is about the size of Alaska. That equals a lot of people. What is the main language spoken in India? The main language is Hindi but man alive there are a LOT of dialects spoken in this country. Our cab driver told us there are 235 of them. He showed us how on Indian money they have listed the thirteen most spoken languages along the left hand side so the majority of the people can read it.It’s pretty money. I like that Gandhi is on it. What is the main religion in India? Mostly Hindu (about 60%), with about 25% Muslim (as per our little tour guide). There are more Christians in the South…catholic People come from all over India and the world to visit the tomb of St. Thomas who died there. We are now in Jaipur and visited the most amazing temple yesterday just in time for prayer. One of my top highlights so far. What is the time difference there? We are twelve-and-a-half hours ahead of time back in the desert. I’m serious about that extra half hour. I thought leprosy was eradicated years ago… Leprosy can be treated but there are still quite a few leprosy afflicted colonies in the world, especially in more rural, poverty-stricken areas. What are the accommodations like at Rising Star? They take really good care of the volunteers at Rising Star. I think that’s why so many parents feel comfortable letting their college kids go on a trip like this alone. That’s also why we felt great about bringing Max and Elle. Everything is really organized and thought-out. The volunteers stay in the “Elephant House.” …which opens into a courtyard: …lined with bunk rooms to sleep in with a/c…which is HUGE. Here was our girls’ room: Elle, Brynne and I slept in there with four of the sweetest roommates. Here are three of them working on staying in touch with family at home. The Internet connection is pretty good most of the time so they can keep up blogs and communication with family back in the states. Here’s the boys’ room:(with Elle joining them for a little read during a break after one of the rotations) Here’s the ladies’ restroom: …where we took great refreshing bucket-showers:…and where Elle and I perfected our “squatting skills:” (Grace, that last one’s for you babe…remember how you about died with the squatting toilets in China?) Here’s the kitchen: …where Elle and Taylor whipped us up some great eggs and pancakes one morning. This is the place where all the girls pick out their Indian clothes each morning. Each day some sweet ladies do the laundry so there are fresh choices every day. Here are the long-term volunteers who help run the show around Rising Star. I don’t know how you could find six more on-the-ball kids to run things. I am so grateful for their awesome examples to Max and Elle. Each morning they have a little meeting to coordinate all that needs to be accomplished. …and each evening there is dinner on the roof with instructions and everyone going over their “highs” and “lows” from what they experienced that day. Here we are at our last dinner there: How can I start sponsoring a child at Rising Star? If you are interested in sponsoring a child just click here for all the info. We LOVED getting to know our boy we sponsor, Krishnamoorthy. The kids had such an instant connection to him.He’s a cool kid. And so darn smart too. Right now we are in Northern India which is going to be rough to explain. I am not going to be able to keep up on this reporting from the road because we don’t have much internet. I love writing about things right when they happen because I don’t want to forget the amazing things we are experiencing every second but I’m going to have to revert to scheduled posts ‘til we get home. As we drove around today we sat upright in awe all day long at the things we witnessed outside our van windows. I’ll let the pictures tell the story soon but I’ll just say that when my sister described India, she told me to imagine the craziest place I possibly could. Then she said, “India is even more crazy than that.” I must say, she was right. We are loving it here but my heart still aches a little bit about leaving those children at Rising Star. They will always be in our hearts.