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Dispatches from the Mountains

Greetings, family and friends-

Bridge Year India 10.0 just rolled into Kausani, Uttarakhand after a long day’s drive from the alpine town of Munsiyari. We had a wonderful week of homestays, replete with knitting and weaving tutorials from our homestay mothers, lessons about the local biogeography and geology of the Himalaya, a bird walk through the forest, vibrant conversation and debate, and learning to roll “proper” rotis with our homestay families.

Tomorrow, we’ll visit the Lakshmi Ashram, a school for girls focused on Gandhian principles, where the students will participate in the daily rhythm of the school: gardening, tending to the livestock, drying tulsi tea leaves, and cooking lunch together. Over the next few days, we’ll take hikes through the pine and oak forests, visit the Anashakti Ashram (where Gandhi stayed for a brief period and penned some of his writings), stop by ancient Hindu temple complexes, and continue to watch films, read articles, and discuss themes that have surfaced over the past few weeks: what is “effective” service? What does it mean when we speak of “development”—where does it help, where does it harm? What constitutes the ecosystems/human communities we are visiting? How, if at all, are they similar to the communities from which we come?

From Kausani, we’ll head to Ranikhet, where our last week in Uttarakhand will find us at the Center for the Contemplation of Nature under the wise tutelage of Mr. Ajay Rastogi. Ajay ji has created a thoughtful space that weaves together research-based approaches to ecology alongside in-depth philosophical and experiential methods. The result will (hopefully) be a deeply meaningful experience that draws together our learning in Uttarakhand, and prepares us to return to Rajasthan with some new perspectives, questions, and rejuvenation.

Finally, just before we head back to Udaipur, we’ll spend one week in Jaipur with the American Institute of Indian Studies for an in-depth week of Hindi language classes to jumpstart our linguistic abilities prior to moving into our long-term homestays and service sites.

 

Our Schedule in Brief:

19th-23rd:          Kausani, Uttarakhand

23rd-30th:         Ranikhet, Uttarakhand

30th-Oct 7th:     Jaipur, Rajasthan

8th-Onward:     Udaipur, Rajasthan

 

Warmly,

The Instructor Team