This is day 7 of our amazing Indian experience, and our adventure continues. We started the day with yoga, learning several relaxation exercises after a brief orientation on the purpose of yoga.
After breakfast we visited a tea garden and learned how green and regular tea is made, from being picked, through the finishing process. This was really fascinating, and what was even more amazing was the fact that both are made from the same identical leaves! During the green tea process, the leaves are picked, boiled, rolled, and then dried again. However, when making brown tea, after the leaves are picked, they go through a blower to dry them out, and then are put into a conveyor system where they are ground down to fine grains, dried, and undergo a color change on it’s own. The smell where this process occurs is unbelievable! We all had an opportunity to taste freshly made green tea right off the press and it was really good, although super strong.
After lunch we visited an alternative and traditional Mishmi house. We learned that each house is unique, depending on the tribe, and abide by a different set of house rules. We got to see the different types of tools used for hunting, as well as the attire at the alternative house. There were also a host of skulls from the different animals kill during the hunt. The traditional house that we visited was much different. For one thing, you had to bend just to fit into the house, and stay bent down to move about. The house had a pure bamboo floor and the roof was made of rice weed. Although it had been raining all night, the inside of the house was completely dry. We were surprised to see that they had color TV.
After leaving there we went to the local community center and attended a lecture on Indian art forms, and then watched Ms. Lumi perform a dance illustrating her local tribal experience. She was truly amazing! Then four very brave members from our group volunteered to learn a step or two, and represented USF very proudly.
The day would not have been complete without a trip to the local trade fair, where many members were able to purchase local souvenirs for their family and friends. Tomorrow, the journey continues!
Reflections by Leah Abramoff:
Learning of the tribes within Arunachal Pradesh continued to be intriguing. They were so culturally rich and many individuals had artistic talents as was evident by the lecture provided by Lumi. In a land that is so vastly diverse where the people know multiple languages and engage in artistic talents it can make someone from the USA feel like they have so much more to learn and experience. India has such varied landscapes and through Vijay Gi’s leadership we had the opportunity to meet a wide range of individuals of varied walks of life in Northeastern India. From Lumi who is a lecturer of fine arts to a tea estate owner to members of the Mishmi tribe. Each one had their own unique stories to tell and strengths to lend to their communities. By the end of the day, we as a group were afforded the education and experience of dabbling within the culture found within Aruchanal Pradesh.