From Temple to Temple - Ben Anderson

I’ve been here long enough that the days are beginning to blur together and my sense of time has almost completely vanished – exactly what I was hoping for on my second adventure to India. We started out with only a few girls but now have dozens. The girls arrive promptly to our home at the NHPC power plant, dressed in their best and ready for a full day of work (and plenty of play). Every day at the NHPC brings new experiences but the greatest experience for me came during our visit to town two days ago.

After a long morning and afternoon of teaching well-prepared workshops, our YMAD crew set out to town to purchase supplies.  An interesting aroma hit us as we arrived in town, something resembling shit, body odors, food, vegetation (marijuana), and many other exciting things. My fellow YMAD companions had plenty of descriptions for the alien world around us. In their words and mine, the landscape behind the crowded cement streets resembles a cross between a Jurassic Park jungle, an epic digitally lit Avatar mountain range, and a well-constructed Bob Ross painting.  The beauty is unreal, especially when set behind the Temple orphanage where we finally got a glimpse of the unstable conditions our young students live in.
The Temple Orphanage was our first stop (See Picture). My instincts told me not to enter in fear the structure might collapse on top of me.  The rooms are barely big enough to hold the twenty girls who live there. Dusty schoolbooks and sleeping pads line the floor and the ceilings creep close to our heads.  A few in our expedition stepped aside and reflected on our lives at home. Standing in their home that moment, none of us could imagine anything we do not have.  It is now so obvious why we are needed here.
While many split up to do some shopping, some of us wandered through a thousand-year-old Hindi temple. Here we found refuge from the bustling streets and honking vehicles that are inescapable in even the most remote regions of India. The elaborate hand-carved stonework of the several temple structures looked solid despite their age.  Locals meandered through the buildings, burning ignescents and ringing small bells as they said their prayers. I enjoyed ending the day in this calm atmosphere.

Ben Anderson