Par­ent­ing around the world

Each is­sue, we speak to Ki­wis who are rais­ing their chicks far from the nest.

Parenting - - Last Word -

par­ents: David and Wendy Grant

chil­dren: Hannah, 16, and Grace, 8

Live in: Orissa, In­dia

Was de­cid­ing to bring up your fam­ily away from New Zealand for a while a big de­ci­sion?

Yes, a huge de­ci­sion. We are a Chris­tian fam­ily us­ing the skills we have to em­power oth­ers through train­ing and em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties. Our chil­dren are part of this jour­ney and while it was a big de­ci­sion, we recog­nise the in­cred­i­ble priv­i­lege it is to work, live and be ac­cepted in a de­vel­op­ing coun­try, and to be a pos­i­tive in­flu­ence within that process. Our chil­dren are grow­ing up hav­ing a broader world­view, the ex­pe­ri­ence of living in a coun­try so dif­fer­ent to New Zealand, and the op­por­tu­nity to learn to re­late to peo­ple of an­other cul­ture.

What’s been the best thing about it? The tough­est?

The best thing is learn­ing a dif­fer­ent cul­ture; this can also be the hard­est! We love hear­ing our daugh­ter Grace ask if she can “ask the gov­ern­ment if she can be In­dian so she can wear pretty clothes”, and recit­ing the ‘pledge’ at school where she says “all In­di­ans are my broth­ers and sis­ters, I love my coun­try (In­dia) very much“. Hannah is able to un­der­stand the dif­fer­ences be­tween a want and a need by living in a more ba­sic way. She loves cooking In­dian food and shop­ping at the lo­cal mar­kets. As a fam­ily we now ap­pre­ci­ate things we used to take for granted like power/wa­ter/health­care/ our ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. The tough­est thing is be­ing away from fam­ily. It is also hard miss­ing out on recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties and af­ter school ac­tiv­i­ties Kiwi kids do. We also miss the ease of re­lat­ing to peo­ple of your own cul­ture who laugh at the same nu­ances of lan­guage and re­la­tion­ships that re­late on a heart level.

Would you de­scribe where you live in In­dia as child-friendly? What are your favourite things to do as a fam­ily?

Mostly where we live is child-friendly. There are dif­fer­ences be­tween how boys and girls are treated and re­late to one an­other. There are is­sues re­gard­ing child safety that we need to be con­stantly aware of with two girls. There is one park we can go to which has shade, a play­ground, and a kiosk which sells ice cream. Oth­er­wise fam­ily time means a trip into town for a cool drink, a walk in the coun­try­side, a movie at home or board games.

What are the big­gest dif­fer­ences be­tween bring­ing up kids in In­dia and New Zealand?

All around us we see life be­ing lived in such a dif­fer­ent way to New Zealand. In our cur­rent vil­lage, 90 per­cent of our neigh­bours do not have a toi­let. The power goes out at least a dozen times a day and we need to be aware of wa­ter: with no power, we can­not pump wa­ter to fill our tanks which are on the roof. We drive a scooter and mo­tor­bike – three of us go on the scooter, no prob­lem. In­dia is vi­brant and full of life and colour. In­dia loves to cel­e­brate, there’s al­ways a party some­where, and the hos­pi­tal­ity is amaz­ing!

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