That my first day here would be dedicated to children seemed amazingly auspicious to me, as well as delightful. Their feet were washed by the hosts upon entering, then they were served food, then you touch their feet and touch your head to accept the blessing they bring. I won’t go into the whole description of the nine-day festival, but will just say that each day of it they honor one of the nine aspects of the Goddess Durga.
We have visited the places where I will be working with the organizers to bring some simple education to tribal children living below India’s poverty line. They are indeed adorable and impoverished, eager for positive attention and often hungry.
My days are full with planning, preparations, and generally two visits to different locations a day. I’ll be painting a mural on a classroom wall, also. We head into the city to buy supplies for that today.
Udaipur is about 7 km away from the home I’m in. There are vestiges of former glory, yet there’s garbage everywhere, and I continue to feel intense anger at the plastics industry. These people didn’t use to have this problem because everything they consumed was biodegradable. But, of course, with the on-set of cheap plastics (and the disappearance of forests for wood) many everyday items are used and discarded without any civic plan for disposal. Ah well, this is not a new sight to me.
We live in a suburb that, fortunately, has a more country feel to it – lots of birds, and animals that wonder about freely: cows, buffaloes, donkeys, dogs…I hear crickets and geccos chirping at night and it gets nice and quiet here by about 10pm. The monsoon season seems to be waining, and the days are sunny and hot.
My hosts, Gaurav and Ravi are delightful, bright and earnest young men in their late 20’s with a vision for a better world for the unfortunates. We go to these locations together, and plan together too. We are enjoying each other’s company, though I know they are hoping for more volunteers soon. In the meantime, I get the benefit of being on the ground-floor of their new venture. And…Gaurav has a guitar!! I’ve been playing a lot, and having to force myself to play by memory. Slowly tunes are arriving in my mind to play.
It took me several attempts to launch this blog, but this one seems to be working, so I’m beginning to have more confidence about this process. And so, my adventure is fully launched and I am here and very fully engaged. Will post again, as I find the time and inspiration…