Namaste from India to all the Bali Family!
High school students had a great Monday in Pondicherry, splitting into three groups, the students are focusing on having time to bond with the kids in smaller groups. Major morale booster after coming home from Light Partnership the first night with tired students who had stepped way out of their comfort zone.
The student had the image in their minds they were fundraising for grade school children, but when they arrived and found teenagers, there was some disorientation, and maybe even disappointment. On Monday evening, high school students met Mr. Rocky – the founder of Light Partnership. Students were stunned to hear the full weight of his story, the story of his kids, and how they all became a family. Once the students understood everything, the students are able to ask tons of question, and made the narrative their own. The scales had been rebalanced and the group felt solid in working with Light Partnership. The high school students spent the day with Light during one of the days on their trip having excellent homemade Mexican food, playing volley ball, making art, and talking. The students wanted to just focus on building friendships over doing ‘organized’ activities, and the teachers let them take the lead. It was a powerful afternoon.
The group took a long walk through the village and got a glimpse of how people lived a thousand years ago- low, mud brick homes dug into the ground, painted at the base in turmeric and pooja powder- with thatched palm roofs and cooking fires. Famers, goat herders, fields of thin cows, peanuts, raggi, and rice set against the backdrop of arid hills. Banyan trees with monkeys and women washing saris in the temple pool, hanging them to dry in the sun. Later in the night our students invited all the teenagers from Light to our hotel and borrowed an enormous, LED laden speaker from the hotel. The students set it up in a downstairs room and everybody had a mega-dance party replete with flashing lights, laughter, and ear piercing Tamil whistling. On the day after the group continue their trip to Kanchipuram, the city of a thousand temples.
The group get to experience to sit in the 1400-year-old meditation cells in temple. Some still have color frescos of the gods inside. Afterwards the group had dinner with Light and a closing ceremony where the students present the money they raised.
Over all the high school students and teacher are inspired, exhausted, and happy.