The following post is made by: Sophia Iaquinta and Alli Kroll
We have arrived!! (at retreat that is). The first day and a half have been a blur packed full of presentations, group bonding, great food, and talk of India. We arrived on Sunday afternoon at the Mount Olivet Retreat center in Farmington. We were showed to our dorms and conference room. May we mention that we have a pool and hot tub here to use at night? It makes the cold temperatures a little easier to survive!
We began our group time together presenting power points on different topics such as human trafficking, political parties, Mother Theresa, The Caste System, traditional music, religions, malaria, leprosy, and HIV in India and Nepal. After getting a brief background on the countries we began to croak our singing voices into beautiful melodies. Our group will definitely be #1 on the radio charts soon!….. Once we learn how to pronounce words in Hindi, that is. We’ve learned many different songs and hymns that you may find at a church camp or worship service and tuned them to be appropriate for people of all ethnicities and religions. And don’t underestimate us; you better believe we have instruments to accompany our beautiful voices! We’re limited to Easter Eggs filled rice and one set of Claves while Todd leads with a guitar.
Once singing was complete we had a wonderful American meal at the retreat center. Parents don’t fret; we will get in a great amount of nutrition before acquiring our taste buds to Indian cuisine. Shortly after dinner we began the movie, Water. This film set in the late 1930s depicted the life a woman should lead according to the holy Hindu texts if she were to become a widow. This being to either die with her husband, marry her husband’s younger brother, or live the rest of her life in a widows colony mourning the loss of the deceased husband. While times have changed this movie helped to further enlighten us to some of the struggles women have faced for centuries in India, and are still facing today.
Getting to know the other members of the group has been the most rewarding experience so far. Even though we go to a small school, it is amazing how many people we have never met. Every member of our group decided to travel India and Nepal with one voice for some reason and will approach our upcoming journey through unique eyes.
We’re all getting eagerly excited for the next days to come. Countdown to India and Nepal is only 2 days away! Tomorrow we are heading north to Fridley, MN to Global Health Ministries. GHM is an organization that gathers leftover medical supplies from hospitals and distributes them to countries that are unable to obtain these supplies or have a lack of them. Things as simple as Band-Aids, gauze, and tape will come in handy. We plan on taking some of these supplies to health centers in India and Nepal.
Until tomorrow, stay warm everyone!
Sophia & Alli