Day 8 (Saturday, May 10): First Field Trip, Anatomy Museum & Circus

9:30am: Met in front of the Manipal Library for the first field trip! Dr. Raj was planning to accompany us, but something came up so we went with Sameer and Dr. Rao (unsure if that’s his name). We boarded a yellow Manipal bus to the Anganavadi Centre about 10 minutes away. The teal building itself was modest in size and a pink colored school was in the background. ImageWe took our shoes off and went in. We sat around the perimeter of the square-shaped room and discussed what exactly an Anganavadi Centre is. Two women oversee the place: one’s a teacher and the other an assistant/cook. Two little boys were there when we arrived. About 25 children regularly come to this particularly center. Paintings/murals covered the walls and served as a way to teach the children subjects such as seasons, animals and colors.

ImageThe children play games outside. Sameer termed this education as non-formal preschool overseeing newborns to children five years of age. Instruction is taught in the local language (Kanada), but a little bit of English is taught also. In addition to education for the children, the Anganavadi Centre is also a supplementary feeding and medical care program for low-income families. The children are fed according to a menu posted on the wall and the families also get rations of rice, beans, etc. They track the children’s growth according to a growth chart to check for normal development.

ImageMedical care and immunizations are given at other facilities once a family is enrolled in this program. Women are allowed two pregnancies to receive ante-natal and post-natal care. A program for adolescent girls exists also. Someone questioned about sexual education which was very interesting. They used to teach it in the schools, but there were a lot of protests from people to stop sex ed because they thought it would encourage sexual behaviors at a young age. Fascinating how this is the same controversy as in the US. So now they do not teach it but try to include some information under the general category of “health”. Another program is in the works right now about sexual education. Someone else questioned about the prevalence of teenage pregnancy. Teenage pregnancies are not really common because of culture. If it does happen, almost all of them get an illegal abortion because they are ashamed and do not want anyone to know. Women previously used cloth diapers for menstruation, but they are switching to more sanitary western napkins. I was unaware that India has a pretty decent healthcare program for the economically disadvantaged. This preschool program is funded by the government. Went outside, took some pictures and boarded the bus.

Arrived at Manipal and waited until 1pm to eat lunch with Lindsey and Taniqua. For the first time, we did not sit at the long table because people were eating at different times. It was a pleasant change – felt more like a local student. Then, we had half an hour to spare before the 2:30pm meeting time so we went back to the hostel. Wrote in journal for a little bit and went back outside.

As I was exiting the hostel, the security and front desk ladies flagged me down with their native language. I was extremely confused, but went in her office and she handed me the telephone. Dr. Raj was on the other end. Hahah. He apologized for not being able to make the 2:30pm meeting time, but will likely reach Manipal at 3:30pm. He said he didn’t know how to tell everyone. I told him everyone should all be at the cafeteria so I can relay the message. What a nice coincidence that I came out at the right time. Haha. Some of us then decided to check out the Museum of Anatomy and Physiology. I was thoroughly impressed. Pretty large in size and extremely comprehensive – had every system in the human body (flashback to anatomy last semester), an encased embalmed body (kind of freaky. Someone mentioned it looked as if it could wake up at any minute), anomalies and diseases. The scariest part was the medical anomalies. There were a plethora of encased babies with different types of developmental disorders. Some of them seemed unreal… it was so sad 😦 Makes me nervous to have children. I do not believe we have a museum like this in the US. People were comparing this to the COSI Bodies exhibit, but I never went.

I was with Anna when we left the museum, and we decided to sit outside the cafeteria with Drew, Xhonela and Nikki. Dr. Raj rolled up in Dr. Kamath’s car. He said we would hate him if he told us why he was late. He was at Manipal U’s president’s 50th wedding anniversary. Dr. Kamath received an invite so he took Dr. Raj as a guest. Haha.

We boarded the city bus to the circus. This time, we got a real city bus experience because it was extremely crowded. At one point, the money collector was waving me down to move further to the back of the bus so that we can pack more people in like sardines. Thankfully, a girl needed to get off, so I decided to sit in her seat which was more bearable then knocking elbows with everyone around you in a tight space. A group of us decided to take some selfies, which is always fun.

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It cost 200 rupees to enter the circus. Many of us had mixed feelings after the 2.5 hour show. We were told that no animals would be used, but we got a not so pleasant surprise. Some of the people in our group were very sensitive about animal treatment so it made me think further about the potential horrible conditions the animals go through. They are trained to perform tricks, such as ringing a bell, blowing colored dust, playing cricket and riding a bicycle, which was neat to see, but abuse was likely endured. Animals were not made to be captured and conditioned to do human tricks, but to roam free in nature. I did enjoy some of the music selection (Be My Lover 90’s dance hit, Waka Waka by Shakira, and Ring my Bell by Enrique). The African performers were really energetic and lively, even putting fire down their pants.

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After the show, some people went back to the hostel, some went shopping in Udupi City and some of us ate at the restaurant we went to last time (Gokula Krishna). I ordered Hakka noodles off the Asian menu, which was a nice variation from curry.

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Everyone ordered Asian except for two people. Nine of us total were dining there. The power went out three times, which I have gotten used to happening. We attempted to find a store someone saw last time we were in Udupi, but just ended up lost. A guy from a travel agency saw us on the streets and told us to tell Dr. Raj to call him because he is not picking up his phone. Haha. We rode rickshaws back to Manipal.

Showered and dropped right to bed. When I woke up at 2am, my laptop was still on and next to me so I really did fall asleep abruptly. It doesn’t help that I was trying to do work in bed.

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