Greetings from the Shanti Group!
We are pleased to report that we have had a great first week in India, full of new sights, sounds and warm connections with our local hosts.
After nearly 48 hours of airplane and airport time, we hit the ground running with two full days of orientation in Delhi. Highlights included: exploring the beautiful Lodhi gardens with tombs from the 14th and 15th century, tasting our first thali plates at a local Dhaba, and having a local gentleman approach our group in the park to teach us about (and lead us in) laughing yoga. On our last afternoon in Delhi, the group split into teams of three around lunchtime for an afternoon scavenger hunt in the bustling markets of Lajpat Nagar. All three groups successfully managed to navigate their way back to the hostel, meeting many friendly helpers along the way.
On our third morning in Delhi, we woke up at 4 a.m. for a sunrise train journey to Jaipur, the capital city of the culturally rich desert state of Rajasthan and our home for the week. This week, we have been living in home-stays and partaking in artist internships during the day. Before lunch, we have been meeting for group workshops, including sessions like “how to effectively communicate feedback” and “what are the traits of a positive community”. We’ve also had the chance to learn some survival Hindi and Indian history from our wise teacher Rishi-ji.
So far, home-stays have been smooth and enriching. Each host provides a unique experience. Some lessons group members have learned at their home-stays so far this week: how to make homemade butter, how to socialize at a high society party full of socialites and doctors, how to go sari shopping, and how to unclog a toilet. All very important lessons.
During the afternoons and evenings, we have had the opportunity to take classes from internationally renowned artisans in the fields of blue pottery, tie and dye, doll making, tabla and sitar. We have about three more days in Jaipur before heading back to Delhi. In a few days we will begin delegating out group roles, so expect to find an update from our group sometime next week penned by our inaugural “blogger”.
We are thrilled with the group’s energy and excitement so far, and we look forward to the experiences, learning and growth that surely lies ahead during the next eleven weeks.
Rebecca and Peter