Two posts in one! Plus pics


Internet here has been hard and we have had rolling blackouts.  It has made it hard to keep posting.   So here is two posts in one!

-Joe

DSC_5724I have been here in India for 5 days and wow, for my first time leaving the US and coming to a third world country, I am not as culture shocked or uncomfortable as I believed I would be. For the most part, I am totally enjoying this place. I am staying and the International School for Jain Studies. We are surrounded by amazingly beautiful temples, green grassy grounds, and wild peacocks that sound a bit like cats in a blender.

Our week has been a mixture of lectures and presentation all based on Ahimsa (nonviolence). It has really been a lot of time spent diving into Gandhi’s teachings on nonviolence and his code of conduct for those living in his Ashram.   We have covered much of Jainism and Ahimsa, as well as some other religions. I know there are plans to dig deeper into religious views on Ahimsa.

The food here has been varied. Some of it has been amazing and really different for me and other stuff has been just not my style. I did travel into the city of New Delhi and the Kahn Market place where I had the best pizza I have ever had. Who knew you had to come to India to get great pizza.

I also purchased on traditional pajyma pants and a Kurta which is a formal shirt. All linen and really comfortable. The price was also amazing. I bought three pairs of pants and 3 shirts for basically $60.

In this process of shopping, we also got caught in the monsoon rain.  WOW.  I had no idea it could rain like that. I would liken it to a sheet of water falling from the sky with awesome lightening and thunder.  Totally worth getting caught in if you can do it just once in your life.

I had a chance to walk the grounds here at the Jain School and meet some of the youth that live here on the compound and attend school here.   I was really surprised how excited they were to meet us. Later we will be going to their school. Rumor has it they have planned a big performance for us with dancing and a play. I am excited to see what education looks like here in India and how conflict management/classroom discipline is handled.

June 18th

DSC_5775Today, we went to the Jain School here on the complex. It is a 1-8 school. They threw us the welcome of the century. We were greeted by school children wearing uniforms who gave each of us a necklace made of marigolds and a small red dot on in-between our eyebrows.   We then were seated in a special place for the “honored guests” where each of us was given a piece of framed painting done by one of the students. All of the paintings were incredible and mine was of a old Indian man hold a glass of red wine. How fitting is that?

We then were treated to students reading poems about nonviolence, reading the news to us like a live radio cast, and some music.   The principal of the school gave a wonderful speech and a few of the US teachers also gave speeches, one even singing an original song played on her Ukulele.

What happen next blew my mind. The children put on a play about ahimsa. It was incredible.   Several times, it just brought me to tears. They told the story of the Mahavira, the Buddha, the Mahatma Gandhi, and others. The students wore awesome custumes, danced, and lip synced to a voice track that told the stories. It was awesome. They followed this with a dance number dressed in elaborate costumes doing amazing gymnastics. I will be posting a video of it shortly.

To top this off, a very small Indian boy walked up to me and took my hand. He led me and the rest of the group to the stage where we tool a pledge of nonviolence.   It was very moving.

We then were led to a reception where we ate some amazing desserts and got to meet and talk with some of the kids. Even got to have some Nimbooz, which is made by 7UP. It is really lemonade and was very tasty.

DSC_5869I then got to spend about 30 minutes observing and interacting with a 6th grade social studies class who was working on economics.   They were discussion unemployment, health, education, and the types of economies. It was amazing .

Definitely the highlight of this trip so far!

The downsides so far have been slow wifi and internet and the heat.  I wanted to share this experience with you and it takes a long time to even upload one photo.  I am hoping as we travel it may get better.  The heat here is just unreal and we have had it easy.  It has been staying below 100 degrees most of the time.  It is the humidity that is insane.  Sweat just pours off me while I am here and my clothes are usually soaked.  I am getting use to it and I seem to cool down faster now that I have been here a few days.

The other big downside has been adjusting to the 9 1/2 hour ahead time change.   I seem to wake up around 4am and can’t get back to sleep.  After 5 days, I am really dragging.  Hoping my body resets soon!  Of course, I will need to do it all over again when I get home.

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