10 years in the Holy City

“Coming together is a beginning;

keeping together is a progress;

working together is a success.”

-Henry Ford

 

Like tiny seedlings working together and striving for growth we have each found our place within the team.

One month has passed since each of the 7 members landed in India and the tour, you could say, is in full swing.

 

Introducing Varanasi…

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Varanasi, the Holy City, located on the banks of the Ganges and home to a school called Ashadeep that PWB has been working with for 10 years.

A big sigh of relief came from all members of the India team when we arrived in Varanasi. Firstly because we got to spend a full month in one place and build relationships with the children but secondly because we disembarked a 48 hour train journey that I will surely not forget.

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Arriving in Varanasi we were met by an array of smells, sights and experiences.

Our journey from the train station was a bonding experience you could say. Imagine 2 rickshaws, 7 people, 2 drivers, personal baggage and circus equipment!

Connie, a wonderful woman who shines with the light of service, greeted us at our accommodation. She is the principal of Ashadeep, the school we will be working with for their 10th year.

 

Settling into the bustling city of Varanasi wasn’t too hard. Members of the team finding their own small comforts from home within these foreign walls.

Sophie finding a crochet needle and wool. Daniel locating a shop that sells beer and eggs. Xander reigniting his love for Indian Domino’s Pizza. Poppy discovering quiet places to mediate and make new friends. Jules acquiring a new practice space on our guesthouse rooftop. Livi reconnecting with juggling patterns she drilled with friends and sharing them with kids.

 

During this project the team are also working with 2 other schools called Jeevan and Duniya Education.

All the schools we work with in Varanasi are free schools which offer education for children from underprivileged families who can’t afford to send their children to school.

The ages vary and for Ashadeep the schooling goes up to 8th year but for smaller schools like Duniya the education goes upto 4th year.

The principal of Duniya was recently telling the group over lunch, which they so graciously supply to us after every workshop, that he noticed that after the children had graduated 4th year the families were not continuing to further the kids education elsewhere. He saw that the students were still eager to learn so he opened another class for the afternoon which students can come to and continue to learn.

Duniya also offer an opportunity for young women to come and learn tailoring and beauty therapy in the afternoon.

After spending only one week witnessing the amazing efforts of these three schools I am astounded by their passion for community and equal education for all.

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A week of work in Varanasi for Team India looks like:

Monday

Morning session with Duniya teaching hula hoop, poi and juggling

Afternoon session with Ashadeep teaching contact juggling, clubs, hoops, fans, rope dart, poi, flower sticks, staff and acrobatics!

Tuesday

Morning session with Jeevan teaching hula hoop, poi and juggling

Afternoon session with Ashadeep teaching contact juggling, clubs, hoops, fans, rope dart, poi, flower sticks, staff and acrobatics!

Wednesday

Morning session with Duniya teaching hula hoop, poi and juggling

Afternoon session with Ashadeep teaching contact juggling, clubs, hoops, fans, rope dart, poi, flower sticks, staff and acrobatics!

Thursday

Morning session with Duniya teaching staff, flower sticks, acrobatics!

Afternoon session with Ashadeep teaching contact juggling, clubs, hoops, fans, rope dart, poi, flower sticks, staff and acrobatics!

Friday

Morning session with Duniya teaching staff, flower sticks, acrobatics!

Afternoon session with Ashadeep teaching contact juggling, clubs, hoops, fans, rope dart, poi, flower sticks, staff and acrobatics!

Saturday

Team Activity or show rehersals

Sunday

Day off… woooohooo!

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During each project we have designated roles within the team. One of those roles is ‘Fairy Godmother’.

The ‘Fairy Godmother’ is responsible for creating group outings. This month the ‘Fairy Godmother’ organised the team to go to a waterfall 1.5 hours outside of Varanasi. After a week in the busy city the tranquil, open space of the waterfall was much needed by all team members. Whether it was spinning props in the water or taking some alone time on the rock face overlooking the valley…. All team members were relaxed and ready to start another busy week in Varanasi preparing Ashadeep for their yearly show on the ghats.

 

Stay tuned for more posts about how the choreography develops for the show with Ashadeep and what else the team gets up to in the Holy City.

 

~ Kiera Blaney, Australia

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