On the road again….
Every morning we wake up and wonder if anything can top our experience the previous day and our mind is always blown away with new experiences. We started this morning with cornflakes and boiled milk, a new but pleasant taste for most of us (believe it or not). Following this was a visit to a local middle school, where I think most of us decided that fame is not something to long for. The students treated us like we were famous and we frequently had to sign our names and pose for selfies. During our visit we were able to talk with some of the students and we learned that Bollywood movies are an important fun factor both here and in Delhi. I think two things that struck us during the visit was how advanced the school’s teaching technology was and the students’ dedication to education. All classrooms had access to a smart-board and quite a few of the students aimed for an MBA and study abroad.
After our classroom visit it was time for a much anticipated trip to a store selling sarees, tunics and fabric. Shopping in India is different from shopping in the USA, here they pull out every possible piece of fabric or saree to show you and then you make a decision and they are very eager to sell. I think we all left with something in our bags, but some with more than others (without mentioning names). After lunch we left the university to start our drive towards Arunachal Pradesh, India. It was amazing to see the change in how the houses were built and how the people dressed as we traveled along, every place seemed to have something unique and different to it. We saw a lot of cows, goats and dogs; amazingly there are hardly any accidents with animals and I still have not seen any roadkill here, despite the animal’s decisions to use the middle of the street as their resting place.
After a 4 hour drive we finally reached our destination and I think we were all breath-taken when we saw the Buddhist temple lighting up in the night. Children as young as 8 go to training here to learn how to become monks. The tradition is that families donate one of their sons to the temple, but as they reach adulthood they can make their own decisions as to whether they will stay as monks or live a “normal” life. Tomorrow we will hopefully meet some of the monks in training. Right now I am watching the light from the Buddhist temple here in Arunachal Pradesh and it is truly beautiful and peaceful. I think we can all learn something from their choice to live a simplistic life, free of many of the worries and stressors we all experience everyday.
Reflections by Leah Abramoff:
Meeting the students who study at the secondary school in Dibrugarh, Assam, India was delightful in that the students were so motivated to continue their studies. Every one that was talked to readily identified their favorite subjects and how they want to move forward with their education. Many seemed just happy to talk to someone so foreign as being from the USA. They clamored to receive our signatures and take pictures with us, as this seemed to be an enhancement of their own education to learn about a culture that was possibly so different from their own. However, after talking to the students there are many similarities (like selfies, social media influences, and guidance of technology as a supplemental learning tool within the classrooms). This school, like within the USA, strives to shape the youth’s futures in positive manners. It was also very refreshing to see so many youth genuinely enjoy their classrooms and what they are being taught.
Being able to end our night at a Buddhist temple and seeing the Golden Pagoda of Tengapani was the perfect way to end the night after much traveling from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh. Being able to hear the chanting of the young monks and enjoy their hospitality brought the levels of excitement from the long day to a place where I feel many of us found peacefulness and allowed us to enjoy a restful night’s sleep. Basically, another long day ended on the perfect note.