Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Visiting another organic farm in the Nilgiris

November 21 2010

Today was an awesome day.

This morning I was picked up around 8:40 by an Indian lad. He walked me to the bus station, we rode the bus together to one of the organic nurserys in the middle of the beautiful nilgiris.

They started me out on weeding the elephant garlic patches. I was soon greeted by a local Indian girl who is in the 8th standard. (8th grade).

She sat and talked to me while I weeded. She asked me my name, my parents names and my brothers names. It was kind of difficult communicating at first because she was convinced she didn't speak english. But the more we laughed at not being able to understand each other, the more she was able to speak the bits of english that she knew, and somehow we were able to hold a conversation the entire morning! Her sister joined us 15 minutes after she had, and together we laughed and tried to talk, her sister was 2 years younger than her.

They started talking about photos, and I took out my camera. They were so excited! They had no idea how to use one, and it took them a bit to figure out which way needed to point outwards, but they caught on quickly!

They took pictures all day! It was quite the event. At lunch, they brought out rice and samba, from somewhere, who knows where (Indian fast food??)! It was almost an entire pot of rice they brought me packed inside a banana leaf tied up in a string! I had a pretty hard time finishing it, it was so much food!

We took more pictures and played with the baby cats and the dog.

The mother took me down for more garden work. We harvested carrots, and washed them.

Okay so the mother washed them, I tried but just watched, she put all of the carrots into a bucket and washed them with her foot!!

She used water from a stagnant pond, and gave me a carrot and told me to eat it. I really wanted to eat it, but I couldnt get the thought of proper sanitation for the carrot off of my mind.

No need to get sick in India again.

There were soo many tadpoles in the pond! Many became beached as she took the water from the pond into the bucket, so I spent a good 15 minutes saving tadpoles.

The time was almost 6 so we headed up to catch the bus. Somehow I made it safely back to Vanyas, despite not having my phone on me, and only half spoken English by the people I was working with. But somehow things were worked out, and they took care of it! Wonderful.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Visiting an orphanage with a team of dermatologists

Nov 19, 2010

Vanya's cousin is a dermatologist, who does awesome work all over the world. He decided to come to the Nilgiris with his team to see what Vanya was up to! Him and his team help impoverished areas with serious skin conditions. In many cases, the remedies are very simple, basically sharing their capacity to care. Most cases they have been dealing with is in treating elephantiasis. They are unsure of the exact cause of the condition but assume it is from the lack of proper footwear on contaminated soils. They treat the patients by giving them tailored shoes and moisturizing creams-- with fantastic results! Improving everything from self-esteem to not being able to walk!

We visited a few more schools today, with the doctors by our side. It was incredible being able to hear their stories! One of the doctors said, “Some of these people, just need somebody to care.” They had been working with patients in Africa, previous to coming to India.

One of the schools we visited today was an orphanage. They greeted us by giving us presentations on organic farming, intermixed with dance and song performances. They did so incredible! They had even made dance costumes for the different dances!

They asked us all to say a few words to the group of children. I told them how grateful I was to be here with such a talented group of kids! I told them that I was a farmer in the process of learning organic farming and how lucky I was to stumble across such a marvelous group of organic farming teachers! They were all very happy to hear, with huge smiles on their faces. I don't think I've met a cooler group of kids.

The kids just adored us and came straight up to us afterward. Everything had been translated up until then. But now they were able to practice some of the English they had been learning! Asking us where we were from, our names, our brothers and sisters names and what we do or have done. They were absolutely adorable. I told them how lucky they were to live in such a wonderful place, their faces lit up because I doubt they had ever been anywhere else. They said, “Really? Wow, thank you!”

I told them about the mountains I grew up with in Utah, and how similar they are to the ones they have. They got so excited! They kept holding my hand and calling me auntie.

I have never met a group of individuals so full of life and love. Their spirits were so electrifying, anyone who has the opportunity to live and work with these kids are truly blessed. They may be 'lacking' in western terms. But what is lacking in western terms? Lacking of material wealth? If your insides are happy, nothing else matters. These kids taught me a very valuable lesson today.