1. The employees of the Residency: I know these boys are probably just doing their jobs, but I’m pretty sure their jobs don’t include fighting off a toddler who wants to help clean the toilet and sweep the floors. The cleaning boys and restaurant boys are probably between the ages of 18-25, and LOVE Landon. Since Landon can open the door to our room, if he’s awake, he wants to be outside of the room. The room cleaning boys help corral him, carry him, chase after him, and let him go in their office. They take pictures of him on their cell phones and let him help them sweep, mop and clean rooms. They always greet me with a smile. The restaurant workers have to clean up after Landon after each meal, and still they like him. One in particular even put on a children’s show on the TV so Landon could be entertained during the meal. Some of them will watch him as he runs away from the restaurant while I finish my meal. The security guard out in front also loves Landon, even though he is supposed to be all tough, he always watches out for him and makes sure that the cars pulling into the driveway know that there is a toddler nearby.
|Helping with the cement… they mix it by hand with a
2. Our friends from the grounds crew: Although they speak NO English and I speak NO Hindi, these ladies still manage to communicate fairly well. Lately they have been building a cement wall and relaying pavers outside the Residency so we see them more often. They pick up Landon and play with him.. Sometimes, he gets scared, but they put him down and let him come to mom. They let Landon dig with their tools and throw dirt in their cement. The older lady invited Austin, Landon and I to her home for dinner. I told her we couldn’t go because of Austin’s work and the Residency’s rules, but that is how nice they are. She often finds people who speak some English to translate for her. She tries on my sunglasses, and comments on my clothes. These women do heavy labor in a sari plus a long sleeved work shirt over the top, and a head scarf. I would melt! The other day, one of the girls offered Landon a drink of something milky looking. Turns out it was fresh goat milk, milked that morning by this lady. So cool! Every time we are walking the streets they yell “hi!” and wave. It is fun to see them and have Landon play with them. Sometimes it is hard to pull him away.
3. The kids: I think we have seen only a couple kids twice. The children here learn English in school, and the brave ones talk to us. They always start with, “What is its/his name?” then “What country are you from?” If I ask them questions, sometimes they can answer. Most of the time, that is the end of our meaningful conversation, then they start playing with Landon. The older kids are really protective of him on the playground and help him with some equipment that is a little big for him. One girl even caught him when he fell climbing a ladder. I have found out from the kids that their summer break is only 5 weeks long, from April 30th to June 7th. Most families go somewhere during summer break, like the beach or to visit relatives.
|All the kids love Landon!|
|Landon shared his bus with this friend|
|Swati- our Indian friend with food!|
4. Random strangers: We go to the Reliance mart often to get water.. because I drink a lot, and snacks for Landon. Last time we went it was because Austin had been eaten alive by mosquitoes and I wanted to get him some anti-itch cream. Landon slipped his shoe off in the store, which usually means I throw it in the stroller basket, but a man in the first aid section told me his shoe came off, picked it up, and put it back on his foot. He said it was no problem, that he was blessed with 2 children of his own and wanted to help. Then I asked him about anti-itch cream. He went out of his way to go over to a store worker and ask where it was. He was a really nice guy. Other workers and patrons of Reliance mart are also very friendly. There is a lady that stays across the hall from us some of the time. She bought Landon chocolate and cashew cookies, just for being cute. Her name is Swati and her husband works for Reliance. Her kids are in college now and she says that she “loves small children!” She explained that she worked when they were small and now she regrets not spending more time with them, as they grow so fast. She has invited us to her room and given us all kinds of Indian snacks to try, along with tips for places to go in this area, since she used to live in Reliance Greens permanently. She is awesome! This old man who sits on a bench in the shade at the park looking towards the main entrance of Reliance Greens plays with Landon in the afternoon. He doesn’t speak much English, but he learned “car!” and “bus!” and points them out for Landon when they drive by. He even found/bought Landon a little matchbox car and gave it to him the other day. Now Landon wants to go out there all the time to see if the man has more cars for him. How demanding! The man also brought Landon candy the other day!