In class a few weeks back I rediscovered a word that I had forgotten about for a long time – serendipitous. The word itself sounds joyful and rightly so with the simple definition of ‘happy coincidence.’ For the past few months I have been through many periods of stress with mounting assignments and responsibilities with Trivenis and projects that sometimes make me forget about all the wonderful things about this community. Thankfully, these months have also been marked by many serendipitous events that allow me to rediscover the idealistic energy that I arrived here with. When I try to recount these moments, I realize that I can’t do so in words. Instead, here are just a few pieces of these experiences that I was able to capture.
I had the opportunity to photograph a sewing workshop for local women who create clothes which are sold under the Kruti program at MUWCI. The additional income earned by the woman creates a sense of empowerment and purpose.
I was talking to Sarika, a girl whom I teach swimming lessons to, and somehow we came to discussing our birthdays. It turns out, we are born on the exact same day, on the same year. I’m not sure why or how, but our connection by this shared anniversary fostered a friendship that I hadn’t anticipated with our language barriers. After several months of teaching swimming to girls from local villages it is incredibly evident how important outdoor education is. I am inspired by these girls who are overcoming barriers to learn new skills – barriers that are both personal and societal.
Each week as I pass through Nanigoan village I am eager to see the progress made on the temple at the heart of the community.
On a trip to Mahabaleshwar (a hill station about 3 hours from campus), I discovered this shoe store built around a tree trunk. This is what you could call working with nature.
shoes, shoes, shoes
Other than shoes, Mahabaleshwar has an abundance of strawberries. The cool climate and rainfall allows for more to be grown here than anywhere else in India!
Grinding organic coffee beans from an agro-forestry coplantation the old fashioned way at the nearby Gorus farm. I spend many Wednesday afternoons here volunteering to learn more about organic horticulture in this region.
Coffee berries – pre-peeling!
Hundreds of local students and community members came together in Paud on International Women’s Day to celebrate the value of women in society. Energy buzzed throughout the village as the intergenerational crowd came together to demonstrate local commitment to a global movement.