Just in from another amazing day full of surprises and miracles, laughter and compassion. Wild rides zipping through the city on a saltry Sunday, hopping in yellow cabs and old painted buses, digesting the delicious delicacies of Bengali cusine, my first ride in a tuk tuk, meeting new friends, deep discussions of the Hindu religion, visiting the huge glistening Kalidat Temple, removing our shoes, observing reverently, crying quietly as I watched the little black goat being prepared for sacrifice, listening to the stories of the Hindu Gods, deciding I like the God Kali’s spitfire spunk and wishing I could meet her, whispering my prayers with the Bengalis inside the temple, working in the Sick and Dying Orphanage of Mother Teresa,no comment
Writing from Calcutta, i am indescribably grateful. On a basic personal level, i am just grateful that i was able to sleep all the way through last night, and am feeling so rested. i am even more grateful for the wonderful things we have already been able to see and do on this trip, and it’s only our third day. Yesterday we sponsored and led an outing for 92 survivors, born into brothels kids, and red light community adults, to a beach at the Bay of Bengal. For most, it was their first visit to the ocean (well, almost ocean). For all, it was a welcome opportunity to get away from the struggles of life in the red light area – the noise, dirt, and human sorrow, the death of dreams, the slight but ever-present sense of danger and violence, the stigmatization and scorn from mainstream society.no comment
Again, it is quite late as I write a few words…the clock is ticking in the distance upstairs, I notice it is almost midnight. We trudged home from our long, long, long day’s journey through the dark streets a few minutes ago. With tired eyes and muddy bodies oozing with the olive green clay of the Gangees Riverbed, we could hardly wait for the trickling shower we hoped might work. (The water had stopped through the night and we were without any to start our day!) Hmm…No water tonight either! The water flows sometimes and then sometimes not. I was so tired, but determined to get clean before I climbed onto my mattress on the floor, under the lavender mosquito net.no comment
Is it a dream? If it is, I never want to awake from it’s slumber. Even though we have only been here for 2 days I can tell you that I am a changed person. Since arriving in India an unexplainable calm, peace and serenity has blanketed me like the fog that hovers over kolkata seemingly endless. I truly feel that the English language just doesn’t have the words to truly express what we are experiencing. I have seen things that I will never forget in my entire life and some that I hope I forget by tomorrow but I know will continue to haunt me for the rest of my days. India is everything I thought it would be but on a more heightened level.no comment
I arrived in Calcutta in the middle of last night with a group of 12 volunteers – several artists, a museum curator, a lawyer, a minister, two people from The Body Shop – a diverse and passionate group. I can see right off that my blogs from this trip are not going to be the beautifully written, concise, and thought-provoking reports that I was hoping to write. To say the least, it is very distracting here! Right now i am at TEN’s Destiny Center, where 10 trafficking survivors from four local NGO partners come to work each day. Between the volunteers and the survivors, buying paint for creating a preschool at the Sanlaap shelter, changing money, developing some new products, dealing with one girl’s health crisis, planning a week of arts workshops for the volunteer team, and dealing with the inevitable issues that come up around here each day, I feel like I am using 100% of my intellectual and spiritual capacity. And we’ve been here less than 12 hours!
Today was a really special day for Tanaz.no comment
Eight of us arrived safely from the states, exhausted and happy. We awoke many times through our first night as we slept on the skinny mattresses in the quaint hotel which was situated in the city, just past the hospital. The loud sounds of taxi drivers, busses and bicyclists honking their horns to the beat of their own mystical rhythm combined with the screeching tires and Indian voices sharing stories in Bengali, along with the rumbling of the water pump coming alive when someone flushed a western toilet, lulled us to sleep.no comment
Maya and I ate our last dinner at home, a dinner full of hungry gulps of samosas and sag paneer, spicy naan and chana masala as we sat at our white island in the middle of our massive kitchen in Rye, New Hampshire, looking around, whispering good bye to our kitty Sophie and our pups Duke and Duchess. The tastes rolled around in our mouths and woke up our tastebuds, beckoning them to the possibilities of miracles about to unfold. Thus began a series of acclimations to the new life we’d soon be living and the old life we’d soon be leaving. A bridge of sorts, binding the two together, as we hold onto our past and embrace our future.no comment