Posts Tagged ‘philanthropy’

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” –Marcel Proust

I have just learned to say, “How are you?” in Bangla, and I practice on a young Muslim woman dressed in black from head to toe. “Balo, balo” she says energetically smiling at me. I sit down next to her on a cement wall along the road. I ask for the name of the very young baby in her arms. “Aki” she says. From other gesturing I gather that the baby is only one month old.

Caleb, Sanjoy and I continue our walk up to the lake, enjoying a pleasant stroll and a beautiful view. On our way back down, I spot the woman still sitting with her baby and hand her a small sprig of marigold flowers that we found along the way. She starts talking to Sanjoy, who translates that she has invited us to lunch at her house. (more…)

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Of Tribes and Tribulations

Deepak, whom we met on the train, led us to the temple in the village of Koraput, his home town that is deemed too minor to be listed in our comprehensive 1000+ page India travel guide book. We were only transferring in this village, killing time before our overnight train to Balugaon left in the evening. Across the street from the temple, there was a crowd gathered for some sort of festival with a performance going on. I asked if it was okay to watch, so Deepak organized some plastic chairs for us, then he left, promising to see us off at the train station in the evening.

Koraput dancers

We were distracting. Now, instead of watching the stage, the audience was watching us. Minutes later, distinguished middle aged men stepped down from the official reception area and asked us to come up to where the important people sit, an elevated viewing area. They greeted us as if we were special honored guests and asked us where we were from and why we had come to the Koraput District Tribal Dance Competition. They were so thrilled that we had come, that it was difficult to explain that it was all just a coincidence, that we just happened to walk by. From their glowing faces and their emphatic grateful gestures, it seemed that we were what they had been waiting for. A miracle had taken place; we had arrived in Koraput. (more…)

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