Lets Play Holi!

Internet has been infrequent this week. One thing we learned is that if there are strong winds or rain, the villages are usually impacted far more than cities and may go without power for days.

This was truly one of my favorite weeks. Thursday we were able to celebrate Holi. Holi is a celebration of color. Myank, one of our coordinators, said “the color we have is the love we share”. I thought that was a really special way of looking at it. There are two types: Wet and dry. Dry is using powder, which is now more frequently being made of crushed flowers so the color is more natural on the skin. Wet is using water, either mixed in with color or from squirt guns/hoses. One lady poured an entire water bottle filled with blue water down my back!

Since it is one of two major holidays in India (the other being Dawali) the clinic was closed. For breakfast, Mr Vrinder and Mrs Rita invited us to their home. We were able to try some traditional Holi foods. One food was gujiya (which is made with dried fruit and sugar then deep fried). We also had deep fried vegetables. I tried to look up more specific names but had a hard time. It was really sweet that they made this elaborate spread of food specific to Holi for us but also a little awkward because they just watched us eat it. They always ate as a family after we left. After eating, we played Holi (meaning we painted each other’s faces with color) with their entire family. Next we headed to Dehradun to continue the celebration. There we met with Myank, who kindly invited us to celebrate both at his home with family and then at a large celebration hosted by one of his friends on a farm. There they had even more food and a ton of color. This is such a big holiday and I was so appreciative of how inclusive he was of us in that joy and excitement.

Our yoga instructor left to celebrate Holi so Friday I went on a hike up the mountains overlooking both Patti and Dehradun with Mr Vrinders son and nephew. It was absolutely beautiful and I was even able to witness some adorable mountain goats.

Wednesday and Friday the clinic was pretty quiet. Since there are no appointments the schedule is never known but because it was surrounding a holiday many people were likely just spending time with family. 

There may not have been anything “to do” or coffee shops to frequent in Patti but just walking around enjoying the sounds, smells, and views brought me as much joy as any city ever could. Even though the changing environments has been an adjustment I wouldn’t have changed this experience for anything.

This weekend we will be traveling to Amritsar, a city in the state of Punjab. We will be visiting the famous Golden Temple, a very holy place for those of Sikh religion, and to the WAGAH border, the border of India and Pakistan. We have heard great things about the city so I am excited to experience it. 12.5 hour train ride here we come!

-Lindsey

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