We were in Sarnath from the 31st to the 3rd. While we were there we stayed in Kalpana’s
house, an amazing woman who helps out both the women and children in the surrounding community. One of the ways in which she gives back is by providing a schooling environment to the local children. She also provides jobs and training to some of the women in the community. While we were there we played with the children and also helped to teach them English. On the 3rd Sam Bull arrived and was welcomed not only into our group but by the community as well, later in the day the children put on a performance and said their goodbyes. As a thank you gift to Kalpana for here hospitality and generosity, our group painted her a mural of Krishna.
On November 4th we took tuk tuks to Varanasi and met Sangametra, who has been our
guide, that night we went down to the Gangas and watched an Arti. On the 5th we learned about the history of Varanasi and then went on a tour and observed the sari making process. On the morning of the 6th we received a a brief introduction to Islam. Later that day we learned about Varanasi’s red light district from Ajeet, a man who works with sex traffic victims. Early on the 7th we went on a sunrise boat
ride. After breakfast we packed up and left the Puja guest house for our home stays. The 8th has been our first day of classes in Assi Ghat with local teachers and artisans. The 8th has also provided time for each member of North India and Nepal group to have some time to ourselves and recuperate.
Sarnath was an amazing introduction to North India. It is not quite as busy as Varnanasi and allowed us to ease into the culture. In Varanasi so much was happening all the time, there were so many noises and smells and people that most everyone in the group became a little overwhelmed. In Assi Ghat we are all getting our first taste of freedom. We have been able to schedule our days with what interests us and have had time away from the group to embrace to culture through our home stays and wanderings.