Letters from India 2013, part 1

January 4

Dear Friends and Supporters,

After traveling half way around the world, Beccah and I seamlessly found each other under the rather large hand mudras in the Delhi International Airport. But losing baggage on an international flight seemed like perfectly orchestrated protocol after twenty four hours of air travel. As our evening turned towards morning, we found our baggage, pulled our resources together and ventured towards our Delhi destination. We spent the next two evenings with our gracious host, Jessy exploring and enjoying the tastes of Delhi. Thursday morning we boarded the train from Delhi to Jaipur. As the sun began its journey across the morning sky and the dense fog began to lift, we absorbed the sights and sounds of a very raw India.

We were met upon arriving in Jaipur by Pruin, who would serve to be our auto rickshaw driver, city guide and counselor for the next month ;). I'm sure that there are only a few cities around the world that could compare to the incredibly dense population and lively streets of Jaipur. They flawlessly lack continuity; cars, auto rickshaws, motorbikes, bicycles, cows, pigs, boars, camels, dogs and people roam aimlessly creating perpetual chaos. Traffic lights are by the way mere suggestions, and blowing your horn is a gesture of politeness (and everyone is always being oh so very polite!)...so can you only imagine this perpetual bumper to bumper scenario flooding your senses?  

Our boutique hotel, Ayra Nawis which has become our little oasis in the heart of Jaipur proves to be a welcoming reprieve. The volunteers began arriving on Friday, and after long stints of air travel and gradual recovery from the sights and sounds of a new and culturally stimulating environment, everyone appeared to settle in with ease. We spent the weekend acclimating to our surroundings as we found solace in our yoga practices and spent time enjoying each other’s company.

On Monday morning, after a grounding practice, we began our indelible journey. After parking just shy of our destination, we made our trek into the allies of the slum. While immense poverty was indescribable, the streets were undeniably peppered with the vibrant colors of this ancient culture.

The children at the Vihaan School greeted us with smiling eyes and open hearts. Sally, Paula, Andrea, Beccah and I spent the morning clearing rocks from a secluded space within the school walls so that we could break ground for an educational garden. Kate, Emily, Dale and Madison tapped into their math skills, vocal abilities and artistic creativity while engaging young and willing smiles.

While the days have been exhaustive, we leave the Vihaan School with joyful hearts. It is an amazing gift to be immersed within the pulse of this culture and take home the simplicity of playful minds and brilliant smiles.

Sending warm thoughts,