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Ajmer and Pushkar

Our class went on the most amazing field trip on Friday to a slum. The slum was an amazing field trip... It is a home to hundreds of diverse artists: painters, puppeteer, jewelers, quilters, India dancers, folk dancing, musicians and so much more. The field trip involved trying all the different jobs in small groups. I began by beading an extravagant necklace... you can see the picture... knowing these women do this every day all day is amazing to me, their tiny little nimble fingers, the strain in their eyes, and their backs bending over all day to do that is incredible. Then I moved to the quilt making where I sewed the blankets, which was a lot of fun, but once again similar to the beading WOW!!!

After the beading and quilting I went to the dancing, where we were taught to do some Indian dance moves, a musician patted on the drum as we danced in a tiny space of her home. It was so much fun, we danced like no body was watching, looking like fools next to the most amazing dancer! She looked beautiful in her costume! We watched her children dance too, filthy, barefoot and un-groomed they danced giggling and loving every second of the attention we were giving them :)

The next stop was a puppeteer and drummer. the puppeteer was SUPER AWESOME!!! We got to try it... surprisingly I have the hidden talent... I guess I did quite well guiding the incredibly heavy puppet across the floor, while the man beat on his drum, we were all clapping and loving being in the shack.

The last stop was the dancing with the traditional costume of a horse. OMG so embarrassing. Everyone was staring at you with a horse costume on... fifty small children watching and countless adults. It was a lot of fun, and incredible, but I also felt stupid... LOOK AT PICTURES to fully understand.

After it all we had a program of all the artists performing and the final piece asked us to get up and show everyone what we had learned in our sessions! It was so fun! It was amazing to see the slums, make the children's day and learn about what they do. Which brings me to the next thing....

I have decided on an internship called Sadhna. It is a social business, a smallstart-up, vocational training for adults, empowerment for women, and rural location close to Udiapur. I think it will be similar to the field trip we did, helping women learn handicrafts to sell to help them have an income of their own. You can check out the website of the internship....

sadhna.org

This weekend I went to Pushkar and Ajmer. They are both smaller Indian cities in between the mountains! They were so beautiful. We went to several different temples... I posted the pictures of their magnificence. :)

All my friends and family however are in trouble... I went to the holy water to pray for you. However the Brahmen religious leader told me I had to pay 300rupees per persona I prayed for.... ummmm didn't pay haha.... I paid a total of 50 rupees for all of you.

Sorry folks, I hope whoever was listening to my prayers understands my fear of people constantly trying to rip me off and take my money :P

After exploring Pushkar, we went to a lovely lunch at Pink Floyd Cafe where I met my new illegal friend Herman, a turtle on the roof of Pink Floyd! I guess its illegal to house or have turtles in India. Herman did enjoy the roof with us though, it was beautiful, the view was amazing and he seemed to enjoy playing with my straw!

After the cafe, we went to Ajmer where I had a bit of an emotional breakdown. While exploring Ajmer we decided to go to a mosque where we saw several people missing limbs amongst other disabilities. I have seen this so many times before. There are hundreds of people all over India with missing limbs, scooting around on scooters, riding it bikes pedaled with their hands but this was really different.

I think there is a problem with polio here. The people have legs but they are literally just bone.... soo sooo skinny, and because they are so weak, they move them in all kinds of awkward broken positions. Their knee pointed one way, their foot another, their toes missing, or distorted.

This sort of site doesn't phase me the same way it did one month ago, however one man in particular did.

The first time he walked by I thought little of the man in torn clothes who carried a large stick right in front of him... stomping the ground with the base of the stick in front of him... I could recognize he was blind... his face was looking at the ground so I could not look at him, but his stick pounding showed his disability.

The second time he walked by I saw his face.. his face was full of fear as he walked down the most crowded street of Ajmer, unable to see anything, his stick leading the way to scary path crossing the busy intersection. I saw his eyes and my heart skipped a beat. He had been blinded on purpose, his eyes were burnt from what had appeared to be acid... solid white with scarring covering his eyes and eyelids... He had his hand out between each sticks stomp, begging for money.

He was such a tiny little man.

The third time he walked by was when my eyes filled with tears as someone literally rammed into the man, knocking him off his balance and his face already full of fear became full of surprise, sadness and terror. I almost lost it in the market and was thankfully then allowed to walk into the mosque where I was distracted by many other people asking for my money, my handshake, and the curtsy of an introduction.

The whole town was amazing and incredibly beautiful. The entire city was completely different than Jaipur. We loved every second of our adventure!

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