So on January 2nd we woke up kind of early and began the drive to Mysore. After a few hours we stopped at a little store that specialized in wooden crafts, like boxes and bowls with metal inlays. I wish I had more space and money for this elephant:
As we drove, we passed through several areas with houses made of corrugated metal and tarps, but they were mostly by the roadside. Also some people sleeping in tents and lots of women selling fruits and nuts on street corners. The state of Karnataka is the "Sugar Cane Capital of the World," and our bus driver bought some from a farmer for us to try. You peel off the skin and put a chunk in your mouth. As you chew, it gets juicy which is weird because it looks dry and cruncher. But it's sweet and pretty good! We also got some oranges and bananas which are smaller than in the USA but sweeter and with a better texture.
We got to Mysore before lunch and ended up staying at the Infosys campus. Infosys is a software and computer company based in India. Apparently one of the bishops ended up accidentally meeting the president of the Mysore campus or something, so we were invited to stay with them.
So the campus can hold up to 14,000 people. It has a pool, tennis and basketball courts, yoga and dance rooms, four cafeterias, a 5-lane bowling alley, fountains, ice cream shops, bicycles that you can ride anywhere on campus, two IMAX theaters, and also lots of security-protected buildings that we don't have access too. Also, there's even a door/curtain between the shower and the rest of the bathroom! It's the real deal.
Lunch was a little more Western than we had been eating. At 4:00 we went to a hospital in Mysore, started by missionaries for women and children 108 years ago. Today it's a 300-bed hospital with 450 staff and 350 outpatients every day.
This might sound weird but I really enjoyed the hospital. Yeah, it was heartbreaking to see a child with an IV and an oxygen mask and to see a pregnant woman in the Hep C room, and some other students in my group hated the hospital because they felt like we were intruding upon the patients' privacy, which I get. But at the same time, we may be the only Americans these kids see for a long, long time. Even though we have literally don't nothing to deserve their attention or excitement except to be there, when you wave at a kid they smile big and wave back. U.S. visiting them, no matter how little we do while we're there, gives them hope. It makes them feel significant. And that's not fair at all, that us doing practically nothing makes them so happy. But if I can do anything to give them hope, I will. It's awful that these children need treatment for tuberculosis and chicken pox and other really really treatable things, but at least they are in a hospital. At least. they. have. treatment. And that's cool. So I really enjoyed the hospital.
We also went to St. Philomena's Catholic Church for a little while but there was a mass going on so we couldn't enter. It looked cool from the outside though! That was our day. Not really that exciting. But yeah! Infosys is incredible and I definitely never expected anything like this.