Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The New Year

Most of the Dalit people have rejected the Hindu religion and the caste system.  Ravi explained to us that the vast majority of Dalits are Christian.  There are two Christian churches in Chevuru-one Catholic and one Protestant.  We never were able to meet the priest who served at the Catholic church, but the Protestant minister lived right in town.
On Sunday January 1st 2012, we dressed up in our new sarees and went to church with the people of the village.  At the end of the service we were thanked for our efforts with the gifts of flowers, cake, and smiles. 

They asked us to sing.  The only thing I could think of at that moment was Amazing Grace.  We sang for them as a final gift.  

The week we spent with the Dalit people of Chevuru was a week I will never forget.  Trying to process everything I experienced there has been a continuous effort.  For the first two months after returning to Japan, I could hardly look at the photos-I was emotionally overwhelmed. 

I think the reason it was and is hard for me to reflect on this trip was because I felt like I needed to do more for these people.  The world suddenly felt so unjust.  I saw these little children who had been arbitrarily born into absolute poverty.  Not that these people don’t have a chance at creating good lives for themselves.  They do.  But the barriers they face in this world to create secure futures for themselves are unspeakably higher then anything I have ever imagined. 

Experiencing the people of Chevuru provided for me the chance to intensely reflect on my own life.  A few things I continuously work on are:

-Be positive.  Laugh and smile every day.  You always have a choice in how you react.

-Simplicity is beauty.

-Take nothing for granted.

-Work hard.

-Be thankful.

-Have faith.

-Help each other. 

-Take time for joy.
-Always accept gifts. (Even if you have already eaten seven bananas.) Expressing hospitality is a human right.

-Putting on a saree is a long process not easily accomplished by oneself.

-Accept peoples gratitude-even if it is difficult or you don’t agree.  Everyone’s own feelings belong to themselves-not you or anybody else.

One of the people we met wrote a poem for us. Ravi read and translated it for us.
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