Friday, October 15, 2010

Days Eleven and Twelve in India

Well, it finally happened. I thought it wouldn't, but it did. I got sick. Luckily, it wasn't too bad, and it only lasted for one day. Still--no fun!

Okay, here is a brief account of the last two days:

Thursday (Day 11):
In the morning I was feeling just dandy, so I went with the medical team to another leprosy colony. This one is called Bharatapurum, and it was different than all the other colonies I'd been to. This one is attached to the Bindu Art Institute, and they sell their paintings to maintain their colony. By the way, this little art institute has a website. It is, if you want to check it out.

It was amazing to see how different these patients were from the other colonies. They were cleaner. The colony was more organized. And they had a sense of self-worth and self-respect. And they gained this through painting pictures. That really gave me food for thought. As an artist, people often undervalue my work or they say, "Wow. That must be fun" in a tone that clearly expresses that they think maybe it's a faze. But here is an illustration of the power of the artistic--this is only one aspect of art, and it has completely changed and raised one group of people who were deemed worthless. It was a joy to be among these people. Don't get me wrong--not everyone was nice. They clearly live in a hostel and not family homes, because they treat each other like siblings. There are people who are rude, and there are others who are unfailingly kind. And all the various personality types were showing up around us, since the normal social courtesies that would have existed in family colonies were non-existent. It was quite fun. I hope to go back to this colony one more time before I leave, so that I can buy one of their paintings.

Toward the end of our time at Bharatapurum, I started to feel sick. I will spare you the gory details, but let's just say that I was relieved to finally arrive back at the school. It was wonderful to take a nap and then take some medicine. I also learned how to use an Indian toilet (necessity is one of the greatest teaching tools).

The rest of my day was spent recuperating and packing for Delhi.

Today (Day 12):
In an attempt to get everything done, I was able to accomplish about 2/3 of the items on my list. There was nothing exciting. I was in the hostel most of the day. A new volunteer for our sister organization showed up. She's very nice and I'm excited to work with her. This evening, I was invited to a religious festival that the staff and administrators were putting on. Tonight's festivities were for Durga Puja. It is a religious festival of gratitude. It lasts for three days, and it is twice a year. In the spring, it is a celebration of thanks for all the living things. In the autumn, it is a celebration of thanks for all of the articles that work for us and keep us safe. For example, the cars, the bike, the tractor, the electricity, the computers, etc were all given an offering of gratitude. It was amazing! And it was fun. I love that their are three-day religious festivals just to offer thanks. So awesome!

I sure love this place. I hope that my adventures continue in a positive vein while I am in Delhi and Agra. I will update as soon as I can. Happy Puja!

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