Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Perur Temple

Perur Temple
Going into a Hindu temple for the first time can be a bit overwhelming. You can feel sensory overload as you try to process all that is going on around you! Images of different deities cover every inch of the walls, the ceilings, and the marble pillars. The clanging sound of bells being rung to awake the gods mixes with the chants of believers. The feel of the hot cement under bare feet and the smudge of holy ash on the forehead can be uncomfortable. The sight of hundreds of devoted followers- toddlers and old alike laying prostrate at the feet of a god, lighting gee candles, or offering gifts of coconuts, bananas and flowers to the images. Meanwhile, the scent of incense pervades through it all.

In one of the courtyards of the temple
On Tuesday afternoon our students went to visit Perur temple- a 2000 year old Hindu temple on the edge of town. We were able to not only observe Hindus worshipping, but also learn from a Hindu professor from BACAS how and why she worships at the temple. It was definitely an interesting experience that students will continue to process. For some, it puts them out of their comfort zone and pushes them to think deeper about their faith. They have been taking a religion class and studying Hinduism these past 2 weeks so it was good to connect their head knowledge with experiential knowledge.

Batch 6 outside of the temple

 We ended our tour by going to a nearby coconut stall and drinking coconut water fresh out of the coconut while the sun set over the temple!
Shaina and Amber enjoy the coconut water

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Batch 6 Has Arrived!

Our 6th Batch has arrived! They flew in on Wednesday and were immediately ready to go! We sent them around with their peer mentors from BACAS to show them around the area and keep them walking and upright. By dinner it was hard to stay awake, but we provided them with a vast array if new foods (paneer, gobi, and paper dosa) to keep them interested.
Welcome to BACAS
The beautiful peacock rangoli created by the art department
 The past days we have been in orientation. Students have learned some basic do's and don'ts of the culture here as well as been introduced to their teachers and staff. We had the chance to go shopping one afternoon for new salwar kameez for class and thankfully the peer mentors came along to give fashion advice.Students had the chance to take their first auto rickshaw ride, try schwarma from Arabian Fried Chicken, and visit the local grocery store.

Academic Orientation
 After several days getting their feet on the ground, our students are ready to go out on their own to complete Amazing Race Coimbatore. We have split them into small groups and provided them a set of clues and tasks to complete that will take them across the city. They have to find certain landmarks, get tea at certain stalls, and take pictures of themselves at certain locations. In the evening the groups are meeting the ISP at various favorite restaurants across the city to celebrate their success.
Chrissie and Kelly with their new outfits

On Monday the students start their first classes!