Uncategorized

It’s So Hot… My Eyeballs Are Burning.

This is the first time that I have “graduated” a class of students and I feel like a proud mother 16 times over!  It’s been a long, yet satisfying year.  Long because our local investors haven’t been model business partners, and satisfying because my students didn’t give up during the challenges.  They worked through no AC in exhausting heat, electricity cuts, internet disruptions, no water, an infestation of flies, live rats who liked to nibble on our food, and one dead rat who festered for days in the far recesses of our non-working AC ducts.

My students studied how to become good journalists and then put that learning to good practice.  Some learned English along the way.  They now know how to pitch stories and research them, conduct interviews, and write cleanly for print and broadcast.  They learned to shoot HD video, edit on Final Cut Pro, and assemble post-production projects.  They practiced anchoring, studied ethics and law, wrote headlines and teasers and learned the mechanics of multi-media storytelling.

Many of my students brought with them a passion for this work.  The rest discovered the passion along the way.

And that’s what makes me feel so proud.  It’s not fame or fortune that drives them.  It’s a good story and the challenge of telling it.

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We had the pleasure to work with 11 photojournalists from the University of Nebraska for the last two weeks of class.  They traveled here with two instructors to cover stories that they had started researching in Lincoln.  We paired the Nebraska team with our students and they worked together on the ground, interviewing, shooting, and translating.

I was impressed with the tenacity and professionalism of the US team. They profiled elephant drivers and drug addicts, abuse victims, and domestic workers, to name only a few of the many impressive and difficult-to-document projects.  You should take a peak at some of their photographs: http://unlphotojournalismindia.wordpress.com/

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Care for HOT anyone?  It’s so hot that:

  • Sweat runs down the back of my thighs.
  • I change clothes twice a day.
  • My eyeballs burn.
  • It’s 99°F  at midnight.
  • The gardener hung tarp to protect the yard plants from the sun.
  • The birds have disappeared.
  • The “cold” water is too hot to shower under.
  • Running outside at 6 a.m. is a bitch and I’m about to give up.

The forecast?  116°F on Wednesday and Thursday.

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We are not returning to the States for our usual cross-country sprint this summer.  I’ll share our plans in the next post, which will also have the annual Yardley slide show.

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Our little reporter:

Lala and her latest art project:

The inside of my Taxi: 

Celebrating the beginning of a well-earned summer break for me:

Uncategorized

La Vie En Rose

One of my students did a story about India’s Right to Eduction Act (RTE) and she recorded, on camera, this quote from a parent at a private school:  “I don’t want poor children to sit with my kids and be spoilt in their company.”

I asked several Hindi speakers if the translation was correct, and they confirmed, sadly, that it was.

The Indian Constitution guarantees children the right to an education.  RTE was passed by Parliament not long after we arrived in Delhi in the summer of 2009, and the Supreme Court has just ruled that the law is valid and constitutional.

Specifically, RTE mandates that all private schools set aside 25-percent of their seats for the poor.

Many private schools say that they can’t afford to forgo a quarter of their tuition and at the same time, maintain standards and meet operational costs. They argue that the government isn’t doing its job educating the poor, as it should.

The government reimburses private schools a fee per child, but for many institutions, this money doesn’t replace lost funding.

Private school educators say poor children face greater challenges and that educating them isn’t as easy as slipping them into an enriched classroom.  There are oodles of other arguments:  It’s difficult integrating class and caste;  Poor children are not prepared to compete because their skill base is limited;  They don’t have the necessary support at home to compete in a rigorous school environment;  Many fall asleep in class where it’s cool and calm because they live in tight and chaotic quarters and they don’t get to bed until late.

The government says, get over it and just start teaching.

Until now, many private schools worked around RTE by offering segregated classes in the afternoon after paying students left.

Or they didn’t meet the mandate at all.

The best scenario is that the Government of India improves its own schools and educates, with equal resources, all of its children.

Last year, in a big publicity show,  Delhi gave public school children refillable water bottles so that the kids could bring water from home to drink in school.  Why?  Because many schools do not have clean drinking water. Instead of spending money on providing reliable sources of clean water, the city spent it on plastic instead.

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Look who’s thirteen!  Olivia Rose…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a sweet shot of our resident avian mommy:

My students graduate next week:

The ultimate in Jugaad (a temporary solution) – a homemade teleprompter built by my brilliant colleague:

Soccer Buddies:

Lala’s special friend: