The Long Road Home

January 9, 2014
The long road home! The train ride was long and arriving to find a rickshaw driver to the hotel. Of course I did not know how far the station was from the hotel so I got overcharged. Trying to buy things and get a decent price here is difficult. They see me coming and see $$$. I felt like I had jet lag all over again too when I got off the train.
I’m glad to be heading out It’s been a long time for me, three weeks. If I have learned one thing here, it is to take one day at a time, be calm and enjoy each day for what it brings. I hope I can maintain this when I get back.
Today in Delhi, it’s raining and dreary out. I will spend the night at the same hotel, the Grand Godwin, on the 10th, then get myself to the airport late in the evening. The plane for Tokyo leaves at 1.45 am, on the 11th. Arriving on the 11th as well across the international dateline and expecting jet lag when I return.
I will add more photos and stories when I get home and have my laptop handy.

Health Camp

imageJanuary 8,2014
I made the newspapers today. Three papers actually, my picture in two of them. In action at the Rescue Junction teaching “The Faces of Hope” art project to the children.
There are Forty women here at the office awaiting sterilization. They call this the health camp and it only happens once a year. By American standards, primitive, but they get the job done for the women and for free. All the women have relatives with them to take care of the babies while they’re having the operation. The women stay the night, get good food to eat, some clothes for the children and a warm blanket. I feel like a fish out of water here, but the founders, Nick and Deepak could not’ be nicer or more attentive. It was a big day for them. Some of the women were so young and had 4 children already.
Onward to the beginning of my journey home. Dinner at English Nick’s house and straight to the train station in Gaya, leaving at 10:30 pm. I had great help getting to the station and finding the right bunk. It reminded me do an 40’s train movie. I spent a reasonably uncomfortable night tea at 7am, breakfast at 8. At least this train has two loos, one Western and one Indian. I think I was more worried about that than anything else.

Return to Rescue Junction

January 7,image 2014
I went to the office to discover that they people there had created a board with about 100 of the art portraits. They will go on the wall there.
Rescue junction took in 6 boys yesterday saving them from being trafficked to Delhi. The baddie is going to jail as a result. Yea for People First.
I went on to Gaya, and Rescue Junction, to finish teaching the art lesson of the self-portraits. It was a success. The kids loved it and did a good job. I took some of the portraits and asked the people there to make a display board of their kids portraits for the wall as well as the display board of Saint Marks’s artwork. We have now put artwork in three places connected with People First. While I was elsewhere the workers glued the portraits on a board and put a frame around them. They looked great.
This time in Bohdgaya was such a different experience from my trip in Buhj and Jailpur. The peacefulness of family and the the countryside. I felt safe there, with all those monks around, adding to the spiritual side of things.

The roads are the same though, all through India, that is, pretty bad and all the traffic and incessant honking. They use the horn to let people know they are passing. I read that one of the rules of the road is to let no space go Unfilled. That sounds about right.
Tomorrow, my last day here, I am going to a health camp. They will be performing sterilization operations on hundreds.
Dinner at Nick Hansen’s and then to the train to Delhi. I am looking forward to the road home. It’s been a long trip for me with much learned,,many new friends made.

Touring the Temples

imageJanuary 5, 2014 Two families came to visit Deepak’s family yesterday with kids so it has been crazy around here. I do have an itinerary for each day and today a friend from the People First came and toured me around all the temples in Bohdgaya. The Buddhist Maharabohdi Temple is the big attraction. That is where the bohdi tree stands. This is where the Buddha got enlightened. The cold rain today surprised me but I carried on. I checked my shoes so I could walk in, through the mud and wet in bare feet. This is the pinnacle for Buddhists to visit and meditate.There is a sacred golden Buddha inside. Tons of monks. With and without masks. There are fabulously painted Bhutanese, Thai, Tibetan, Japanese and Burmese temples as well. It’s cold here and I am glad a bought a quilted jacket in Jaipur.

Rescue Junction

imageJanuary 5,
Today, I went to Rescue Junction in Gaya, the next town, to meet the children who live there. There are about 40 in all, who have been rescued from traffikers or lost or run away or even thrown away. I taught an art lesson to them. I will finish it and make another one on next Tuesday. It was heart wrenching to look at all those lovely faces. One little girl was only 4 years old. The staff reunites them with their families or gets them to school or a job training. Apparently they have a 99 percent success rate. They are doing so much for the people in this area.

I am using Deepakā€™s computer to write the blog so I will not be able to keep up as well. My ipad depends on wifi so there will not be pictures unless I can get to an internet cafe. Namaste and su vra tri (good night in Hindi).