Thursday, March 31, 2011

4 months in India

Just a few days ago, I landed at Montreal airport. It was a long (30 hour) trip from 33 degrees in Pondicherry, India to minus 4 here. Now, I am emerging from the 10 1/2 hour time change and sorting through the pictures taken during my stay.

What did I do during my winter-long participation? I never really left the community surroundings because I was fulfilled with my activities there. Early on in December, I began to teach the children of the workers, who were living in their own village on the property. They all came from the Orissa province in the north and now enjoyed a life of relative security and comfort. Without the school, the children, aged 5 to 15, would be left on their own to roam and wait for their parents to return from work. The community yoga teacher, Raju, who spoke Hindi, was my partner in teaching English, mathematics and crafts. Every morning at 10, the children assembled for a short yoga class given by Raju, then they had a break to drink a glass of milk (from our own 2 cows!). Raju helped me to communicate with the children aged over 7 to begin learning new sounds and a new alphabet. We had so much fun together and I learned at least as much as my students. Their way of life was a mystery to me! We created some School Rules to help our life together function.
#1 Keep the schoolroom tidy
#2 Pay attention to the lessons
#3 Help each other
#4 Keep school materials and toys in the school
#5 Be happy!

During the rest of the day I was busy helping to create ornamental shade gardens in different areas of our property; there was much to learn about the needs of of tropical plants and trees.
My favorite tree must be the frangipani, because of the shape and the seductive scent of its flowers at night. Here you see the sample, planted in front of my house as a 20cm stump in December!

I was also baking cakes for our community restaurant and participating in retreats, practicing practically, being a member of a new humanity that loves, cares and shares. So the 4 months flew by without ever a thought to posting in this blog. Now I'm back and plan to report regularly about my gardening adventures and my new home in Hawkesbury, Ontario as of April 28th.