As we make our way through India we interact with locals as we buy food, smile, wave and make simple conversation in Kannada. Some highlights in connecting with our community include: Playing games with our host sisters and brothers, laughing with our host families, having conversations about breakfast (in Kannada!) and meeting all the local animals.
With only one full day left of the village stay and there are mixed emotions. We are both sad to leave the people we have gotten to know so well and excited to move onto the next part of our trip. Tomorrow we are having a function with the village, and the girls are getting dressed up in saris. It has been a rewarding two weeks, with some lulls of feeling useless and slow. But now, seeing how much our work has paid off, both materially and personally despite some challenges along the way has taught us about Indian culture and ways. The community center, tree planting, fence for the trees, school mural, compost pits, and preschool painting are all finished.
These last few days we have gotten to play in the school yard with the kids and teenage boys. Santhosh, our translator, has told us that they never play in the school yard together, and our being in the village has brought them together. It’s wonderful and heartwarming to see how we have made a difference to these people, and it would be incredible if these changes would last. In two days we leave for Cochin, Kerala, and then home!
-Compiled from emails from Shiva Miller and Zoe Kurtz