Tuesday, January 15, 2013


namaste from India!

inea Pongal nal vartikal! happy pongol festival!

being in India has been this very surreal expirience for me guys. being here has made me feel like i am a part of something, like i have a purpose. there is something that i am supposed to do in my life and i know what it is now: help people.

i can't wait to return to the states and share the knowledge i have gained here. i am learning so much about myself, and the world around me every day. one of the founders of the Mohanam center (this village's cultural center for youth) said something that really struck me today. he said, "India is not a poor country; it is a rich country with lot's of poor people." i know now from my travels that one person can really make a difference. i'm in Auroville right now; a community founded by "the mother" (a french lady) and Sri Aurobindo, and Hindi leader. Auroville is all about helping people help themselves. i love staying here at the youth camp, but next time i come i think i would like to live at the bamboo center! they do amazing things with bamboo and aid in community development.

there are many things that i miss about the states...warm showers, soft beds, and the food, oh gosh the food. but i wouldn't trade my expiriences here for any of those things. yesterday, me and lauren went for a run and some village children here joined us. they were really smart. i couldn't pronounce one of the girl's names, and she sounded it out by syllable for me. :/ they all speak english very well, on top of Tomil.

the first day that we were here we studied village action. i hope to raise money for this group in the states at some point and to some degree because they need funding! they empower women mostly through giving them microloans and teaching them to save money. they are changing the way india see's women, culture, and caste systems. i'll write more about them tomorrow when i'm not so sleeeepppy. 

yesterday we visited the cultural center, Mohanam, learned Tomil dances and songs, and had a huge bonfire! i met people from Israel, all over India, France, Holland, England, Germany, and Spain! the guy from Holland was really cool, he's a writer named Tim. everyone teased me and called him my "boyfriend." i hope to exchange information before we leave though, for my next vacation to Holland, ya? (; it's amazing how many people are here in Auroville trying to improve the conditions, learn about the culture, and experience life. each day here is like learning to live in the moment, and that's just how it works here. everyone just lives to experience the moments, and not to some huge end goal. tomorrow to see a bull race at the festival, and the next day we are going to a village marriage!  everything is shut down here for the festival, so really we have just been chilling, learning Tomil, and talking to some very interesting people. a few days ago i helped build a roof out of bamboo for a government prototype, some jewelry, and some drums... and at the bamboo center the women taught us Tomil and we taught them English. the older boys (the 20-something teachers) at the cultural center here like to tease us about the way we try to speak Tomil. they are really nice though, and amazing teachers and musicians. India is so full of culture, and i'm learning too much to even express!

today is one of the smaller days of festival, leading to the biggest day tomorrow! (: today we visited a forest called Sadhana Forest in Auroville. the people there are kind of weird hippies, but very interesting. they believe in no competition, unschooling (a process where children only learn if they want to?? confusing), and only eating vegan. on the other hand their reforestation efforts are amazing. i think i might try to go to Haiti with the organization to plant trees at some point. it's so cool what people can do when they put their mind to it. they are really helping the water conservation efforts, pollution levels, and self sustenance of the Indian community. i KNOW one day i will live here in India for some period of time. this picture is me with my Indian friend Madhu. he teaches me and meg Tomil and called me "chili Ali" once because apparently i'm "spicy." he is 22 and works at the cultural center. the other picture is me with the little girls at the cultural center. they taught me Tomil dances! (: Madhu is going to teach us some more dances on Sunday if we go back (he pinky promised so he better). Namaste my "nanban" (friend). the last pictures are the "Kolam"s made out of ground stone. the women do them by hand every morning and NEVER mess up. they have to be perfectly symmetrical with no gaps so that the evil spirits don't get in!

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