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Sharing Stories - A Glimpse into Another's Life - Homestay with an Angel

INDIA | Monday, 8 April 2013 | Views [149] | Scholarship Entry

We were almost half way across the cornfield when the rain came. In December, this weather wasn’t unusual. As our pace picked up, my ears were filled with the squelching sounds of our thongs in the mud, and the girlish screams of the three behind me. By the time we reached the village, the rained had cleared and a welcoming party of local school children gathered to meet us, still donning the refined maroon uniform they had been for the past two days. The melodies of traditional Indian prayer music filled the air from the speakers in the tall trees above us and the few lights that they had shone brightly upon us. The sincere smiles of the local people put our angst to ease, and suddenly crowds of local people emerged. I lost sight of most of the group as a proud, elderly man took my hand and lead me to his grandchildren. The youngest scratched at my skin in disbelief of its fair colour. I turned to see a young boy sitting on Sam’s hip doing the same. The village was lined with small, mud-brick constructions. There was no roads or paved pathways, only mud. Kind, slender arms reached out and ushered us into their homes. The language barrier was no constraint, and as we entered through the only door of the first house, the tip of my pony-tail grazed along the roof. The interiors were luminous with colour, from their clothing, cooking utensils and the hand weaved mats that lined the concrete floor. Furniture was scarce, most homes occupied merely a single bed and a television, despite housing families of three or more. A woman in a beige dress, with shimmering brown hair that passed her navel yelled my name. “Hoe-Lee?” I liked how my name sounded when the Indian people called me. Her name was Angel; she was only 21 years old. Our group separated for our first homestay experience. Angel led Sam and I to her own home. A red canvas across the roof distinguished it from the others and after closer inspection I realized it was a recycled vodaphone advertisement used to stop rain seeping through. Unlike most others, there was no man of the house here. Ordinarily, It was only Angel. Dinnertime approached and our new friend prepared us a red bean curry, steamed rice and roti bread. The meal was served on banana leaves, and although we knew she couldn’t afford it, her serves were generous. After dinner, we sat together on the coloured floor mat talking for hours, exchanging stories. Not long ago, Angel was a stranger to us, now she was like a sister.

Tags: Travel Writing Scholarship 2013

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