by Page Hart, Global Seva India Posted on February 27th 2013
Before going to the Nijuloy Shelter Home today, we made a detour to walk through a nearby village. The streets are filled with people, bicycles, motorcycles, and cars. I have yet to make any sense of the traffic pattern here. Our driver says, “to drive in India you must have three things – good brakes, a good horn, and good luck!”
Vendors are selling their goods on both sides of the street. The “goods” include produce, flowers, fish and goat (the head of the goat was being carved as we passed). After a short walk, we proceeded to the home for girls that was founded and developed by the Women’s Interlink Foundation (WIF).
This particular site is more spacious than the first home we visited. It is filled with women, children and even a 2-month-old baby. The girls genuinely seem happy we were there and overwhelmed us with a warm welcome filled with hugs and affection. Once again, Suzanne’s drums serve as a magical magnet and ice breaker, allowing us to bridge the gap between language and culture. After dancing and singing we had our yoga session. In a few short days, I am feeling more confident in my own skin as I lead a small portion of the class. It seems that one of my many lessons to learn on this trip is putting myself out there without concern for the outcome.
Next we had the pleasure of meeting Aloka Mitra, the founder of WIF. She truly is a remarkable human being—a mixture of elegance, sense of humor, wisdom, fearlessness and big love! She has a fierce passion for these women and children who have been subjected to various methods of exploitation. Her love and attention for these girls knows no limits—she is a true advocate across their lifespan, even finding suitable husbands for the girls when necessary. She uses her voice in a calm and logical manner to affect change. She spoke about the privileges she has had in her own life and challenged us to “give as much as you have, if not more.”
The highlight of my day was painting a mural in the girls’ living area. It was inspired by Suzanne’s song: “see through my eyes, sing through my voice, open my heart to the beauty of the world.” This song seems to resonate with us as a group and with the girls when we sang and danced together.
We ended our day with a trip to one of the Kali temples and a foot bath in the Ganges. This is one location where the various socioeconomic levels seem to come together with a common focus.
My day has come to an end. I am exhausted and a bit homesick, but I have a huge amount of love in my heart for these women and children—for their resilience, their courage and their ability to reach out and give love to us and one another. May God bless them.
Page Hart is yoga instructor in Nashville, TN. She successfully raised more than $20,000 for the 2012 Global Seva Challenge by mobilizing her community and rising up as a leader for a cause she believes in. Funds raised will help support organizations in India that are providing refuge, rehabilitation and economic opportunities to sex trafficking victims, and empower survivors to lead lives with dignity and respect.
*The opinions expressed in this blog belong to the individual author and are not necessarily shared by Off the Mat, Into the World.
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