Time Capsule Letter – October 2016
Dear G.L.A. Alumni,
Namaste! Hope this letter finds you in great spirits and high energies. Its been a few months since we finished the G.L.A. India program and the memories stay fresh. The summer is over in the Dharamsala foothills while winter has started cascading over the Himalayas with chill and fog.
The farmers have harvested the paddy that some of you also experienced planting. They are busy separating husk, chaff and rice as well as storing them.
(photo: Gharoh village, H.P. India, Paddy harvest//oct.2016)
Vidyamandir school kids are done with their term exams. The students often greet us with the most beautiful smiles whenever we come across their streets and homes. Feels great having been a part of G.L.A.!!
The child care centers seem a bit drowsy, need a G.L.A. kick!!
D.A.R. has rescued and revived quite a number of puppies so far and has found homes in different parts of the world for them.
Tong-Len has succeeded helping out people who lost their homes to at least have a tent of their own and has also engaged tutors for their kids.
Our mate Kapil rocks the cradle of his much awaited baby boy Naksh!!
(photo: Naksh, born on 12.08.2016)
Team G.L.A. India hopes that you never stop finding means to make this world a more healthy and a beautiful place to live through your big and small efforts. We cherish the profound exchange and enriching experience of hosting you guys!
Wish you all the best,
Raja, Vinay, Kapil, Sachin, Ishan and Priya
Summer Blog Posts
After some very long journeys, all students on the 7.15 session of our India: Service in the Himalayas program have arrived in-country and traveled together to our first stop- Amritsar! We’re all super excited to be here, if a bit exhausted from travel. Tomorrow we’ll kick off the trip by exploring the Golden Temple and making our way to the Home Base in Dharamsala.
Cheers to all,
Namaste from India!
The last couple days have been a bit of a whirlwind! Yesterday we made a morning visit to Amritsar’s Golden Temple– an incredible and very humbling experience. Afterwards, we made our way to Dharamsala and arrived at our Home Base, Clouds End Villa. Today, we had our orientation to the program, divided into community service teams (day care, arts camp and sports camp), and had an exciting Hindi class with our local staff to get prepared for tomorrow. We finished the evening off by sharing our “stories of self” and learning about how, despite our differences, we’ve all ended up together on the other side of the globe. Service work kicks off tomorrow and we’re excited to get started. 🙂
<strong>Monday, July 18th</strong>
To make it better, we started the day with a yoga lesson which made as feel more relaxed and ready for service.
Just recently, within the past month, the Indian government tore down the slums in Dharmsala leaving over 800 people (200 families) with nowhere to call home. Many of these kids are now wandering the streets with their families due to being turned away by surrounding villages and the local people. Today, we visited the remains of the slum areas after the government had destroyed all of the house structures. In addition, we visited Tong Len school, a boarding school for students ages 4-18 without a safe home. This school was built by a monk and is now run by a staff that provides food, clothing, and funding to put these kids through the best schools up until University. We bonded with many of the students as they showed us around the grounds, taught us new games, and even braided our hair.
Saturday, July 23rd – Sunday, July 24th
Hi everyone! Sara here, with an update about our weekend trek.
We left Saturday morning, after a hearty breakfast, for our overnight trek to Kareri village. After an hour-long jeep ride to the trailhead, we started on the journey. The trek to the village is tough- the first section being the most brutal, with a ~2 kilometer stair climb. We took our time though, and all of us made it to the top before continuing together for the rest of the walk to our gorgeous campsite along the river. After lunch (and a nap!), Sachin took us to visit a local home, where we observed the culture of the Gaddi people, and some of us got “married” as we learned about the intricate wedding traditions in India.
When we returned back to camp, most of us were feeling ready for a swim in the river. The water was very cold (we are in the Himalayas, after all), but so refreshing! We played in the waterfall, washed up as if we were in a corny shampoo commercial, and took a short break to dive for Beate’s GoPro (which took a brief hiatus at the bottom of the river– no worries, Kaz family!). Afterward, we played a game of cricket and had a yummy dinner of chowmein and vegetable soup before settling down by the campfire. Most of us went to bed early- lulled to sleep by the sound of the river.
The next morning, we woke up to beautiful weather and a scrumptious breakfast before spending a couple of hours planting trees in support of the local village’s reforestation efforts. Afterward, we had a quick lunch and headed back down the mountain toward home. Someone in our group must be Dr. Doolittle, because over the course of our 5 mile hike we collected 5 dogs, a goat and a cow, all of which were following us on our journey! When we finished the trek, we drove back to Home Base for showers, naps, and a movie night (we watched Seven Years in Tibet, in preparation for our visit to the Dalai Lama’s temple this week). Overall, the weekend was incredible, and we all had a great time experiencing the natural beauty of Northern India.