Written By Olivia
Hellooo again, Namaste, and greetings from India! It’s Olivia, here to rehash our past few days in Udaipur, and to let you know that we’ve just made it to Amritsar!
The first day in Udaipur we woke up early (6 am ish?) to go and play Frisbee with the Flying Foxes! We did jumping exercises and Amiah and I learned how to actually throw a Frisbee! Everyone’s joyful competitive spirit came out. Rebecca was the best coach mom, screaming for joy for everyone even if we were facing each other, and Adam, Zevi, Charlotte, Owen, and Amiah were some of the best sports and most determined players. Kari became the new head coach in scant minutes. Afterwards we played a game called “goofy”, which is my absolute new favorite game. Y’all should convince us to tell you how to play when we get back!
After Frisbee we had our first meeting with two members of Shikshantar, Nishtha, and Vishal (a group of unschoolers, unconventional learners, and perpetual growers). We wandered the city receiving info on the different artistic communities in the area, smelling delicious spices, seeing the women run produce market, watching men make pots in less than two minutes on a hand turned wheel, and feeding goats. It was a beautiful experience. After, we had lunch at Millets of Mewar a restaurant that is part of the Slow Food campaign in Udaipur, whose goal is to make eating healthier, and also more sustainable by using local crops that grow well in India’s climate instead of importing crops that take away from local agriculture and sustainability. They also took us to take a miniature painting class, where we got to see beautiful artwork made by a man practicing for over 20 years, and try to learn little snippets of art ourselves from him!
The following day we each had our own small adventures and plenty of naps, and then we visited the garbage dump of Udaipur. It was shocking to see the mass amounts of human waste as organic matter would sporadically catch fire and the smell of burnt plastic filled the air. It made us all think heavily on our own habits of consumption as we pointed out what waste could have been created by us. Even in the dump there was connected life though, humans living and sorting through trash for metal bits and cloth to sell, and fields of abandoned cows fat off of plastic. We’ve become more aware, and all hope in our separate ways that we may bring that awareness home with us.
On a much lighter note, but full of just as much learning: That evening we cooked food in for Shikshantar as part of the Slow Food learning culture, after a lovely tour of their space and their gardens. Owen decided on a masterful menu of Pico De gallo, gazpacho, and tacos with chapati as shells and it was magically delicious. Georgia and I shelled lots of garlic while Rebecca, Charlotte and Amiah peeled many many many potatoes, Kari finessed dicing little peppers as Zevi mixed the Pico de Gallo after cutting onions, Adam rolled out chapati balls, and Owen cooked the most delicious veggies! We were a fully equipped kitchen, and experiencing bartering with local fresh produce vendors/farmers was a great experience to take away. When the groups all came in to eat, everybody wanted seconds! They played great music all evening and we got to hear stories about people’s different lives and desires. I would love to go back there someday for projects and creating (I think we all would).
On our final day, we all got together to play games, and share gratitude with the Frisbee team. Beauty and the beast was an amazing game where we were laughing at dangerous decibels and running wild all over while making new friends in the park, we got to play a zombie game, and a cooking game, as well as goofy again. We said some sad but also grateful goodbyes here, and then went on to nap and eat many bananas before our train ride out to Delhi in the morning.
P.S. : On the many hour train ride, we had full experiences as well. Amiah made new friends, Georgia was drawn by an artist, Kari broke her heart and Ipod, and a man threw my broken toenail out the window after grabbing it very casually from my toe. Zevi was sick but feels better after probably 14 hours of laying down, we’re all dirty but glad to be at our next hostel with fans, curtains, Foosball, and a cool rooftop view!
Also, both Charlotte and Amiah decided to cut their hair! (photos of that later!)