Friday, January 8, 2016

GUEST POSTING: Perspective of a Teen

My name is Jordan Penchas and I am a sophomore at Post Oak High School in Houston, TX.  Last year I wrote a research paper about the benefit of providing self-paced educational computer programs to kids in poorer countries i.e. giving poor kids some kind of laptop or tablet with programs that teach languages or math or typing. The first experiment like this was called “the hole in the wall project.” You can google it and read more about it. That project proved that children who want to learn, will teach themselves if you just give them a chance.  The proposal in my paper was to provide some used computers with preloaded programs to orphans in India. I am studying abroad in Japan this semester but when I found out that I do not go to Japan until February I asked Caroline Boudreaux who owns the Miracle Foundation to let me do a service project for my J-Term at two of her orphanages.  I then begged family and friends to donate used computers.  I got about 11 computers but several were too old for the programs I wanted to load or did not have enough memory or just did not turn on.  So in the end I brought 5 computers to India with me and loaded them with an English language program as well as a few movies – Frozen, Turbo, SlumDog Millionaire – because I read an article that said kids can also learn English just from watching TV.  I am in India with a January term group from St. Michael’s Catholic Academy in Austin, TX. I am going to try and write a little each day about the trip and put it on my mom’s blog every few days as a guest writer.

This is me with Peter.  I am the one looking straight ahead.

Getting to India
On January 4 I went to the MegaBus stop to pick up the other kids coming on the trip, and then we went to the airport. As we started to check in I got to know some of the people I’d be traveling with. There are two other guys with me as well as 6 girls. All in high school. Since almost all of the adult chaperones are also girls, plus my mom, this is a very girl heavy trip.

I was excited to be in India but the plane ride is really long, so I kind of wished I could just teleport there.

India Trip day two:
We got into Delhi at 5:00 in the morning on January 6 because we lost a day. I slept until 10:30, and then we headed to a local market to pick up some clothes and saris for the girls. The two other guys (Peter and a Chinese exchange student named Tom) and I went to KFC to get some food while the girls shopped, seeing as I hate shopping for clothes and they seemed to as well. The girls looked at so many saris in every possible color to choose the one they wanted.

After all the shopping was done, we headed to a local mall in tuk tuks to see a movie.

The Bollywood movie we watched was fantastic, with tons of overacting, dancing, fighting and action. By this time jetlag was starting to hit most of us and we headed to the hotel to get some sleep.

India Trip day three:
This morning, we set off to Agra by bus. It took us about 4 hours to get there, but once we did we got to see a ton. First we had lunch, then we set off to see the Taj Mahal and Agra fort. The Taj is incredibly beautiful, blazing white marble which makes it have an almost surreal glow.

Agra fort was also very interesting, as we had a guide that told us many interesting facts as we walked through.

After the travel and seeing so much architecture, we decided to head to Sheroes, a café where all of the staff are acid attack victims.

In India, if a man deems that a woman has done something bad or wrong he can throw acid in her face and deform her. This normally leads to her being unable to get married which can ruin an Indian girl’s life. Also, because there are so many people in India, the men that do acid attacks normally do not get caught and, if they do, rarely get punished very severely. We stopped at the café to get coffee and tea and talk to the waitresses.  One of the girls was my age – 15.  The acid had melted half of her face and one of her eyes.  It was strange to see her but then she talked and she was funny even though she did not speak a lot of English and you kind of stopped noticing what she looked like.

Then we headed to a shop that made marble inlays. The same type of work was used to make the inlay decorations at the Taj, and we got to see how they made them and try it out for ourselves.

Finally, we ate dinner and went back to the hotel. Tomorrow we fly out to the first orphanage, and I’m super excited. I can’t wait to get to play with the kids and hook them up with the computers I brought. We have been getting up very early each day like at 5:30AM and coming back to the hotel late at night. So I going to bed now.


Unknown said...

Well done Jordan. Look forward to your other posts.

Derek Maingot said...

Good to hear your perspective Jordan!... have fun.

Unknown said...

Love this! I can't wait to read more.

Unknown said...

Your website is terribly informative and your articles are outreach services


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