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Hey, do you have any ‘dood’?—Field Blog #3

27 January 2014

During the night I awoke finding myself thinking of the many new impressions of the day. The main one being the welcoming celebration atJeanamitabh orphanage and my reaction to the events that took place. The wonderful warm welcome I was shown – the many delightful smiling faces and the smallness of the guiding hands. Love freely being poured out to a stranger who had come to help. After breakfast in a local restaurant (that after two visits already feels like a comfortable place of familiarity). The mushroom omelet and tea hit the spot perfectly to start the day. Just having to go to the kitchen to ask several of the staff for milk in Hindi – dood – made Tarik laugh because he told me milk is ‘dood’ in Hindi and I said to the staff “Hey, do you have any dood”. Tarik explained that he laugh because the majority of my sentence was in English. I couldn’t see the humour in this because I was having visions of having to round up a cow and milk it myself. Alas, the warmed milk for my tea arrived. I was relieved – order returned to my universe.

At Jeanamitabh, all was ready for morning prayers, for which Tarik and I were seated in the guest seats. After much singing and chanting, some of the children came to the microphone to give a speech, just like a pastor might do at a church. They were practical stories for life – ‘How to have a positive mental outlook, when life is

hard’. With a strong healthy outlook, all can be overcome and conquered. Some students read from their own text books and articles from the newspaper to become familiar with public speaking. Following they sang the Indian and French national anthem, since Mummy Jee, the founder, is French.

Mummy Jee added her words of wisdom before all were dismissed and dispersed into the classrooms. I followed to take pictures of each class in session. Three of the classes had to be held together in the centre hall space since there is a shortage of separate rooms. So the only division between these classes was to sit back to back. One of the older girls waved a green handkerchief at me and as I got close to her, she asked if I could sponsor her to which I responded— not at this time. I have recently learned that children can be sponsored at Jeanamitabh.

On the roof of the building, I found a group of senior students studying on their own. They were preparing for their nat

ional exams to pass high school – students who have already taken the exam were assisting them – ‘one helping another.’ One of the students brought a chair for me to sit on and they wanted me to tell them about Canada, which I gladly did. When I was ready to leave they asked to hear more, however, but Tarik, Mummy Jee and I were off to buy shoes for the eight girls who did not receive shoes the day before. The disappointed looks from the girls who did not receive shoes the previous day had vanished when Tarik purchased the shoes. Their disappointment turned to smiling, thankful faces.

Tarik and I found ourselves with a few hours to walk around after he finalized a project to build the metal railing on top of the orphanage roof for the safety of the children. In these hours, Tarik took me to the tree where Buddha achieved enlightenment. On our way there, Tarik and I ran into a couple young men that Tarik met last year – they wanted to practice their English with Tarik last year. They offered to be our guides. As a thank you, we offered them lunch. The Buddha tree grounds rose high up to the trees, Buddhist monks, both the red and orange robed male monks and the white robed female monks were all around praying, meditation and giving their offerings. I learned that the offerings (up and down movement of placing their head on the ground and coming up to the prayer position) is done 1000 or more times. I felt a spiritual presence around the spot where Buddha sat to achieve enlightenment.

Tarik has received the final approval from Paper Kite’s board to purchase items and the work has begun. Stay tuned.


One Response to “Hey, do you have any ‘dood’?—Field Blog #3”

  1. Felix says:

    This is an experience of a lifetime, Jeff! I feel you must be deriving spiritually and culturally from this experience as much as the children are materially and in terms of nurturance which is so important for healthy psychological development.
    A perfect example of inter-being, which was one of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha’s core teachings,

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