January 12th & 13th
Day Two In Agra: Some of us went back to the fields, (at least the ones who had travel alarm clocks that actually worked). Our time in the Khets (fields) was much different than the first morning. We were able to give back without any recognition. On our travels back we stopped at a local market for a cup of tea before we began our day. After the crew came back from the fields we had breakfast and then started off to begin our second day at the Dayalbagh Educational Institute, where we attended a presentation on, “Disturbances of Consciousness: Implications for Helping Professionals,” given by The Dr. Charles LindseyJ Following this enlightening speech we headed off to the Kavari Lodge once again for tea and a traditional Indian lunch. Once back at the DEI it was time for the poster presentations by the DEI and Oshkosh students. We were then honored with signed text books and a certificate stating that we had all participated in an International Workshop on “Counseling for Enhancing Consciousness.” Before the day ended we were able to relax for the last time at the Kavari Lodge; again with more scalding hot tea in Dixie cups and treats (its amazing we are all still fitting into our pants). We ended the day once again attending a meditation at the Satsang. Meditation brought out a lot of emotions in the group regarding missing our families and friends, along with some meaningful insight gained by many of the group members. The grand finale of the day was an enlightening group processing session and a well-needed night of sleep.
Day Three In Agra: Today we were able to take things a little bit slower and start out a bit later than the last two days. After some needed morning coffee and tea, we headed out for Integrated Institute of Rehabilitation for the Disabled. By bus we traveled through narrow cobbled streets until our enormous bus could no longer manage. We made the rest of the trek on foot, sharing the road with slow moving, bony buffalo’s, honking mopeds, hurried citizens on rusted bicycles and curious children smiling and waving as we passed. When we arrived at the gate of the school we were greeted with tiny cellophane wrapped rose buds and lots of love by the people that run the organization. We listened to several people talk about the mission of the organization, and we were surprised and humbled by the incredible enthusiastic welcome. We began the experience with a planting ceremony in which we were all given an indigenous plant such as a tiny lime tree in which we hand dug and planted. Then we were asked to till the tomato garden with shards of broken pottery and rudimentary metal shovels. We then met with the children of the organization and separated into small groups for activities. Every group played with the children and used fun supplies that made the children very happy. The Lions organization in Agra presented us with some awesome certificates and the newspaper reporters were there to capture the event! After enjoying another amazing Indian meal, we traveled to The Red Fort. This place was constructed by the same man who created the Taj. Every turn in the fort provided another 100 photo shot opportunities, including a clear sight of the Taj Mahal. We were walking around the outside of the fort when the sun set and the only thing in the sky was a bright star, which turned out to be the aligning of the planets Venus and Neptune. At least 10 people followed us back to the bus trying to sell us mini snow globes, bracelets, and chess sets. Anaan and Chan (bus drivers) brought us back to the hotel where many of us piled in cars to visit a small shop where they make marble tables and souvenirs detailed with the designs found in the Taj Mahal. And here at the end of the night we find ourselves content with our day. Some of us go to bed, while others hang out together finding crazy things to laugh about in this complex country that is beyond words and pictures combined.