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
June 21, 2016
After a busy day at the Delhi airport, we boarded our flight and have finally arrived in Amritsar! All students are safe and excited for a shower (ha!) and a nice welcome dinner at our guest house before visiting the Golden Temple bright and early in the AM.
Stay tuned for more updates on our awesome crew in India!
June 22, 2016
It’s only Day 2, but here in India we’re off to a flying start. Today was one for the books. We woke early and were on the road to the Golden Temple by 6 AM (both to catch the sunrise and avoid the Amritsar heat). We all agreed that it was the ultimate start to our program! The temple is a very powerful place, and we thoroughly enjoyed our tour. We were also lucky that we went as early as we did, because while we had perfect weather for our visit, the second we got back to our hotel it started pouring! It rained for our entire drive to our final destination, Dharamsala, where we’ll volunteer and live for the next 3 weeks.
This evening we divided into our service teams– some of us are at day care centers, others are organizing a summer camp, and some are teaching in an elementary school. We’re all excited to get started tomorrow! We also had our orientation to the Home Base and to GLA, and had the chance to share our wishes for the next few weeks with one another during an activity in which we created our own Tibetan prayer flags. This will probably be my last update, as Margot is kicking off tomorrow as our first Leader of the Day (they’re responsible for updating you all). So, with that, I can only say thank you for sharing your wonderful family and friends with me! We’re in for the adventure of a lifetime.
Leader of the Day- Carson Fechter
Today the GLA family took on the challenge of meeting the first goals we had set for ourselves for our placements. Although not every detail went according to plan, we successfully managed to give the children new information and smiling faces. After lunch, we were taught some basic Hindi words and phrases and were then challenged to use this knowledge to compete in a scavenger hunt around the home base. With such a full day, the GLA family happily grows another day stronger!6/25Leader of the Day- Mackenzie Simon
Today after breakfast, we left for the Aghanjar Mahadev Temple. A tour guide led us around the temple and explained to us the importance of each of its features and how they relate back to hinduism. We were also able to see a fire that has been burning for 5,000 years inside the temple. As we continued exploring the temple we were each given the opportunity to be blessed by and given a painted bindhi by a monk. After learning about the temple, we were led down a flight of stairs that led us to a river dotted in huge stones. One large stone was hollowed out and used as a worship area. Our guide then continued the tour by taking us to a cremation site and explaining to us the significance of death and birth in hinduism and then leading us through beautiful rice fields to a nunnery where we learning the difficult procedure in becoming a nun. After a delicious pizza lunch, we went to the Norbulingka Institute where we were able to witness people making Tibetan wood carvings, paintings, and metal sculptures. Next, we went into the market where many of us purchased bindhis and material for traditional Indian clothing which we will later have tailored. We returned back to the home base for dinner and rest after such a busy day!
Leader of the Day- Juliet DuPont
Today we started the morning with our placements at the sports camp, elementary school, or daycare. I went to the daycare and spent time teaching kids English phrases and making paper crowns. After lunch we learned about recent events concerning the Dharamsala slum. The people living there illegally for 35 years were removed from the land, and were then turned away from the space provided from them by the government. We drove past the bulldozed slum and then visited Tong Len, a boarding school that hosts many residents of the slum. I spoke with a girl who wants to be a human rights lawyer in the future. Finally, we finished the day by walking through a tea garden and returning to home base. Overall it was a moving day that gave us a lot of insight on our own lives and the situations of others.6/28-6/30
Sara with a quick update here! This week was full of fun activities, time at our placements, and yes, a few trips to the clinic for those of us that caught a stomach bug (yuck). We visited the local market and bought fabric to have clothing tailored, saw the amazing work that Dharamsala Animal Rescue is doing in the region, and tried our hand at transplanting rice on Priyanka’s family farm. It’s now Friday AM, and we’re all feeling healthy and ready to begin our weekend trek! Stay tuned for a ton of photos and updates from our trek next week!
Monday, July 4th
Leader of the Day: Avinash
This weekend we trekked to Kareri Village, a village home to the Gaddi peoples of India. The first night we played games together at the campsite- cricket, mafia and charades- before having a campfire. The next day, we visited a few village homes. The people there live in clay homes away from civilization. They used fire to cook their food rather than electric stoves, and they made many types of food from scratch. All of us dressed up in elaborate Gaddi style wedding clothes and pretended to be married. Afterwards, we played various games and swam in the river back at the campsite. On Sunday morning, we had breakfast, planted some trees as part of a reforestation project, and trekked back home! Today we had placements in the AM and spent the afternoon in McLeod Ganj, shopping and having dinner together.
Week Recap- Sara McDaniel
Hi all! We’ve been super busy the past few days, soaking up all that Dharamsala has to offer before we leave on Saturday. We’ve learned about how and what we purchase makes a difference in the world, visited the Dalai Lama’s temple on His Holiness’s 81st birthday, and gotten the full local style treatment (including henna and turbans) before taking a Bollywood dance lesson all together! We even got to spend some time with the King of Kangra and the Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, who inspired us to take action for the betterment of the world we all share. After saying goodbye to our students at the various service sites, we headed to Delhi for a night before checking off a major bucket list item at the Taj Mahal yesterday! Check out some pics from the past week of fun 🙂
Monday, July 11th
All students have arrived at the airport and gone through security to board their respective flights home (or to their next adventure)! We had an absolute blast and are so proud of this incredible group of students. Happy Birthday to Chloe, and to all– bon voyage and Be the Change!