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    • Day172

      Teaching English as Volunteers

      January 19, 2020 in India ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

      Chorha is a tiny rural village surrounded by rice fields close to Bodghaya. Monday to Saturday we saddled our "classic" bicycles to teach the local kids aged 6-11 basic English.

      We have to admit it was a time of mixed feelings. On one hand it was exactly the inspiring, rewarding and challenging experience we were searching for: to be received every day by smiling happy kids whose families can't even afford proper shoes; to teach on a carpet on a sandy floor because there aren't enough classrooms; to explain a foreign language to kids who don't even have elementary skills nor understand you unless your gestures and drawings; to motivate yourself to give one's best to the students because the manager of the school doesn't; this all together taught us humility and humbleness.

      One of the unforgettable highlights was the celebration of Vasant Panchami. It's the most important holiday for students because it's dedicated to goddess Saraswati, their goddess of knowledge, language, music and arts. That day a Brahman came to our school to arrange a special prayer ("puja") to seek the blessing of the goddess. It included a fire inside (!) the classroom and shared food for everybody. Furthermore on the 26th of January we celebrated the Republic day together. The students sang different songs including the national anthem whilst hoisting the national flag. It was lovely to see the kids enjoying their Jalebis - a traditional Indian sweet.

      On the other hand we have to mention how upset we got, when we realized that most of the money that several fundraisers collected goes into the managers family and home. Sadly after 2 weeks we concluded our project, because the priority for the school's founder was never to build a school where villagers receive a good education.
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      Cómo se dieron cuenta q los dineros iban pa' otro lado?😖

    • Day199


      November 21, 2017 in India ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

      Took a short flight to Gaya then a tuk-tuk to Bodhgaya.
      According to Buddhist belief, Bodhgaya is where the Buddha attained enlightenment while meditating under a Bodhi tree. Now, this small town is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists from around the world.
      We’d visited here before and attended an introduction to Buddhism course ~8 years ago. Having enjoyed it, we decided to return to the same monastery/temple for another retreat – this time for teachings about the human mind.
      Over 4 days, with participants observing silence, we meditated a few times a day and attended a Tibetan monk’s lectures discussing Buddhist’s concept of ‘what is the mind’. The summary, following several days of esoteric discussion on the nature of the human mind - and probably the bottom line for most Buddhist teachings - was: BE NICE (god-dammit!!) or your mind will not be at peace. The monk did not say ‘god-dammit!’ we added that for comedic value. Clearly we still have a ways to go on our dharmic road.
      Accommodation at the Root Institute was very basic, but clean. Unfortunately, there were lots of huge mosquitos since in Buddhism it’s forbidden to kill or harm any living being. Fortunately we had a large lizard in our room, which hid behind a portrait of the Dalai Lama and helped to keep the mosquito count down.
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    • Day189

      Buddha's enlightenment

      February 5, 2020 in India ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      Bodhgaya is the most important pilgrim place for all Buddhists around the world. Here beneath a bodhi tree Prince Siddartha found his way to enlightenment through meditation and became Buddha.
      Wandering through its streets, temples and monasteries we met a lot of inspiring people. We both felt really sick and ill the first time for a longer period. So it was Sven (a nice belgian guy following tibetian Buddhism) who taught us that sickness in Bodhgaya is a positive sign and the healing energy of this holy city will make us even stronger :)

      The best moments we spent together with Dinu and his heartful family. We played and danced with the kids whenever possible. Dinu explained us a lot about the village aswell as Buddha's life. The doors were always open for a chai, chat or some holy milkrice. We came as friends and left as family members. Thank you so much brother!
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Gayā, Gaya

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