Letters from India 2013, part 2

February 1st

Dear Friends and Supporters,

While referring to a familiar saying in India, "don't let time rule you, you must rule time," I soon came to realize that this really only meant that patience is a necessary practice as a guest in this country. Sinatra may have wooed New York as being the "city that never sleeps", but I don't believe that he had ever visited Jaipur, India! With all of the busy fervor of rich brown faces, brilliant smiles, colorfully flowing sarees and the background humming with chants  to prayer, it is an undeniable experience of "sensory overload."

Our Yogamour volunteers beautifully ventured forth cultivating their unique relationships with the children at the school. We were greeted with a clamoring sense of welcome everyday as we began our morning journeys through the narrow allies of the "slum." The early sun reflected a true essence of life in the dry, slim tributaries as we witnessed the synchronization of sight and sound; the laughter of children, the vibrant color of drying laundry, animals tolerating people and...oh...the smells that tickled the senses. Reaching outside of our element as far as we could have ever possibly imagined, there emanated a sense of cohesiveness and beauty that could only be held and touched by the warmth of the human heart in this newly discovered reality.

The plans for our sustainable garden became more of a negotiation than the simple project of turning earth and sowing seed. Nothing here comes with ease or without lengthy discussion. Dirt turned out to be not such a readily available commodity, and therefore huddling and bantering over a small pile of soil mixed with trash proved to be quite the community buzz. After solidifying the purchase and many trips hauling dirt through the allies (Emily looked so cool with a bucket full of dirt on her head by the way ;), the garden project was no longer a vision. Knowing that hope springs eternal, the creation of this garden may be Yogamour's contribution towards a healthy lifestyle for the Vihaan family, and enough of a viable project for a grant proposal to keep edible veggies sprouting!

After productive days at the Vihaan School, our deeds were rewarded with tours to palaces, temples, local shopping, a visit to an astrological park, and of course traditional Indian food! And as our group would agree, a trip to India would not have been complete without an excursion to the Taj Mahal! While our days were busy yet productive, we were never without love and laughter.

It was a bittersweet departure as the group began to disperse and embark on home bound journeys. We bid farewell to our fun loving auto rickshaw drivers, Pruin and Handsome, the ever faithful photographer from Thailand, Bank, and our knowledgeable guide to India, Rahul. Flowered with promises to return and maintaining a faithful contact with the Vihaan School, a group of volunteers who began an adventure as strangers, departed a sisterhood. 

While our presence may have been as simple as the extension of a hand and a smile with an occasional feeling of being merely a drop of water in a vast ocean, giving a vision of "hope" is life changing.