Global Volunteers on our India Service Program remark on the many opportunities to take in Indian culture on the streets, in the classroom, and sharing conversation in a local family’s home.
Our day began early to make time before breakfast to visit the flower, fruit and veggie market, the largest in all of Asia. The size and sights and smells were a lot to take in. Sheeba rescued our amla “honey” to soak in her own real honey. Indian gooseberry, better known as amla, was considered as a miraculous food in the ancient Ayurveda. Though Jen is already a fan, the rest of us will give it a few days – report to follow.
Before we left for our work assignments, our team leader Stephen outlined how Hindus can “make a god”. First, you must find a banyan or neem tree where a spirit is said to live. Then you mark the tree with a stone, which conveniently can be a brick. Then you begin worship of your “Make a god”, and as your god grows in popularity, you may add a small lock box to begin collecting alms and donations from your worshippers. Once you have enough donated money, you can build a small shrine to support the worship of your god — and if your god continues to become more and more popular, you may eventually need to build a full-blown temple for your god. A few movie actors and actresses have now become Hindu deities using this process.
Before our evening assignments, we walked to the home of the family who owns the Global Volunteers guest house. We were invited to see their golu which is arranged during the 10 day festival. It’s a display of story-telling dolls for the Hindu Golu Festival, one of the many annual regional festivals in India. There was a large golu accompanied by many additional figurines of all sorts and sizes. They said they had a lot more stored, and considering the relatively small space they were in, that was a mind-scrambler. This just like the market – and just like our lunch – was plentiful. Our gracious hosts seated us in an air conditioned room, served us beverages and gave us token gifts as we said goodbye. Yet another wonderful cultural experience, for which we were all grateful!
Immerse Yourself in Indian Culture as a Volunteer!
Global Volunteers’ India Program enables you to experience the sights, sounds and beauty of India through meaningful service. Chat online with a Volunteer Coordinator to learn more about how to volunteer.