By Karin Johnson
Today was the day after the End of the World.
The morning started out with another early morning music festival and dog barking, although most of us slept right through it, but today was going to be special. At the Tibetan Pavilion a marriage started at 7am with chanting monks and we soon shot off to the Vodaphone kiosk on the corner to buy a few liters of bright orange petrol. One scooter wipe out later the group was back on the road (via bus) to visit project sites.
First, we were introduced to WELL (Women Empowered by Local Livelihood) which is an organization that trains women to make paper products with the goal of owning and running their own business. Then we were bussed down and across the highway to the Auroville Institute of Technology and the Village Action Group. This was an education based center where they taught both women and men important skills for inside the village community and outside in the workforce. Lastly, we visited a children’s home called SALT (Social Awareness for Liberation Trust) where we learned that for 9 years the manager had been struggling to put, on average, 25 boys through school, but only had an operating cost of less than 400 Euros a month. We left wanting to participate in all of the organizations.
We headed back to AV (Auroville) to do some shopping since many of us had packed so lightly that by day three we were running out of clothing. A short trip down the “tar road” reaped a bounty of brightly colored parachute pants and tunic tops so we decided to continue up to the Youth Center for the Christmas Fair.
However, our plans were foiled. One scooter wouldn’t turn off because the key was so loose, it fell out while cruising around AV and was nowhere to be found. Then another collision, this time with the village people– Yes, an impact with a bundle of sticks sent one of our riders in a total wipe out around a bend in the road. Thankfully the entire village came out to see the spectacle of young AUP girls running over old, Indian women. All this made us decide against going to the Fair and settle for early dinner instead.
Dear readers please let me remind you this is only Day Three and the fun has just begun. We are more energized than ever to get involved. Hey, if we can scrape ourselves off the tar road time and again, we are ready to take on our Practicum projects head-on… all that is needed is a little rest.