Photo of the Week
Photo Title


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    [post_date] => 2017-07-16 18:10:55
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Most mornings I'm woken up either by a cat that keeps jumping from somewhere in the roof to my bed or by my "sister" screaming "BROTHER WORK" at 5 a.m, then I go to work to the rice fields for 3 hours then come back to drink a hot cup of tea enjoying the view while I drink my tea.

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SUMMER: Nepal - Group A

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Morning…

Hernán,SUMMER: Nepal - Group A

Description

Most mornings I’m woken up either by a cat that keeps jumping from somewhere in the roof to my bed or by my “sister” screaming “BROTHER WORK” at 5 a.m, then I go to work to the rice fields for 3 hours then come back to drink a hot cup of tea enjoying the view while […]

Posted On

07/16/17

Author

Hernán

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-16 18:10:30
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I wake up and say subha prabhat to everyone. I get ready for the day and take my clothes out for washing and my Ama asks if I want Chiya. I say yes and ask if she can teach me how she makes it. She nods and hands me a pot. We stumble through the motions laughing and struggling to communicate, but having fun. It takes me breaking four matches to light the stove -- haha.

But the end result is awesome chiya which we don't need to speak the same language to enjoy together.

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SUMMER: Nepal - Group A

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I wake up…

Annabel,SUMMER: Nepal - Group A

Description

I wake up and say subha prabhat to everyone. I get ready for the day and take my clothes out for washing and my Ama asks if I want Chiya. I say yes and ask if she can teach me how she makes it. She nods and hands me a pot. We stumble through the […]

Posted On

07/16/17

Author

Annabel

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-16 18:10:06
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This morning I woke up to an onion falling on my mosquito net. Which I later learned it came from a rat in the ceiling carrying small onions to its nest. I ignore the onion and go to the kitchen downstairs, where my amaa is cooking rice and eggs, with onions... We have chiya together and throw food at the random animals that come into the house; including: puppies, cats, and one time even a chicken. We have fun and laugh at the awkwardness of the language barrier. I put on my shoes and get ready for another great day at the village.

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SUMMER: Nepal - Group A

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This morning…

Estefania,SUMMER: Nepal - Group A

Description

This morning I woke up to an onion falling on my mosquito net. Which I later learned it came from a rat in the ceiling carrying small onions to its nest. I ignore the onion and go to the kitchen downstairs, where my amaa is cooking rice and eggs, with onions… We have chiya together […]

Posted On

07/16/17

Author

Estefania

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-16 18:09:34
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    [post_content] => Here are some beautiful photos from the group's time in Balamchaur during their rural homestay.  Enjoy!
    [post_title] => Some photos from Balamchaur
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Some photos from Balamchaur

Instructor Team,SUMMER: Nepal - Group A

Description

Here are some beautiful photos from the group’s time in Balamchaur during their rural homestay.  Enjoy!

Posted On

07/16/17

Author

Instructor Team

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-16 18:08:17
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    [post_content] => Dear friends,

The team A-mazing is heading to Namo Buddha for a meditation retreat after finishing the rural Homestay in Balamchaur, a Gurung village nested in the Annapurna region with breathtaking view of Himalayan ranges.

The students and the instructor alike had a wonderful time living and learning with these families.

During our stay we also hiked up to Ghalegaun, beautiful Gurung village. We also had the honor of having Babacar from Senegal come and share his wisdom. The whole group planted paddy and played with the earth. We had a chance to celebrate the mid course with ceremonies of gratitude and reflection.

The whole Instructor team appreciated the way students engaged with the people and the land. We now move on to Namo Buddha Monastery where we will learn about Tibetan Buddhism and live and meditate amongst the monks. We will then head to our urban Homestay in medieval city of Patan and then to Boudha for our final week of the course.

Our Itinerary looking forward is as below.

16 July - Travel from Balamchaur to Bhaktapur,  stay the night at Bhaktapur.  Shower, cleanup,  laundry etc.

17 - 19 July Meditation retreat at Namo Buddha. One of the major pilgrimage sites for Buddhism in Nepal. Learn about Tibetan Buddhism from Khenpo (teacher). Live amongst the monks.

20 -24 July : Urban Homestay at Patan. Experience the medieval town of Pagan and live with local families.

25 - 27 July : Transferance in Bouddha. One of the most picturesque and sacred stupa in the world.

27 July Evening : Students depart.

Everyone in the group is doing well and happy. We will keep you updated.

Love
Team A-mazing
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SUMMER: Nepal - Group A

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Last days of course…

The Instructor Team,SUMMER: Nepal - Group A

Description

Dear friends, The team A-mazing is heading to Namo Buddha for a meditation retreat after finishing the rural Homestay in Balamchaur, a Gurung village nested in the Annapurna region with breathtaking view of Himalayan ranges. The students and the instructor alike had a wonderful time living and learning with these families. During our stay we […]

Posted On

07/16/17

Author

The Instructor Team

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-14 11:27:31
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    [post_content] => It's 9:30pm on my first full day with my host family in Balamchaur, and my aamaa and bhua are peeling the beans aamaa and I picked in the morning from the fields. After I finish eating the delicious dal bhat and omelette, I join them in the bean peeling process. All of us sitting on the floor around a huge pile of beans, we peel in comfortable silence. After a few minutes I look up to find aamaa asleep with a half peeled bean in her hand. Didi and I start laughing hysterically; and bhua, with a malicious grin, flicks her. She wakes up startled, and with humorous rage, starts throwing beans at bhua. He returns the fire, and I see my didi pick up a handful; I wonder if throwing beans at my host family is culturally inappropriate, yet I grabbed a couple as well. We all laughed in a war of bean throwing madness. I've never felt such genuine simple happiness; in that moment, I knew I was already part of the family.
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SUMMER: Nepal - Group A

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Nidra Laagyo

Estefania Contreras,SUMMER: Nepal - Group A

Description

It’s 9:30pm on my first full day with my host family in Balamchaur, and my aamaa and bhua are peeling the beans aamaa and I picked in the morning from the fields. After I finish eating the delicious dal bhat and omelette, I join them in the bean peeling process. All of us sitting on the floor […]

Posted On

07/14/17

Author

Estefania Contreras

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2017-07-09 07:43:04
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    [post_content] => 

After a comfortable bus drive that lasted for 3 straight hours from Bhaktapur, being stranded in traffic under the blazing Kathmandu summer heat, meandering through potholes and cramped city highways, we reached Aurobindo Ashram at 1:00 pm in the afternoon. The Ashram was nestled at an altitude of 5,000 ft tucked below the Chandragiri Hills, located at the edge of a forest with cicadas competing vibrantly to break the silence. We were soon greeted with lush green vegetation, lots of curious eyes and a well prepared lunch that served rice with buckwheat cake and lentils. As we were already running late, after getting our rooms assigned, we ventured out to explore the Ashram with our host Miss Sushma. The first Dragon’s group challenge came in the form of a slippery task, if not accepted and executed carefully, would surely have one fall, knee deep into a puddle full of cow dung.  Our students boldly tackled the obstacle and crossed the fragile slippery wooden bridge with ease.  We also got a tour of the Ashram Dairy farm, which was a wonderful experience for the students getting to be in close contact with domesticated animals. The students also got an insight into traditional shawl weaving where wooden tools were being operated manually by local men. Miss Sushma gave a brief introduction about the place, how the Ashram served to provide for the under privileged and the importance of a self-sustaining community. At dinner we found our students sitting cross legged eating food with their plates on the floor, engaged in conversation with the Ashram kids, who were exceedingly happy to utter English phrases like ‘What is your name?’. On one such interaction between Maia and a little boy, the boy could not accept the fact that her name was Maia (Maya- meaning love in Nepali). It seemed the little boy was steadfast to learn more on how she acquired this particular name which sounded so familiar to him. The first day ended with a meditation and chanting session, where our students sang religious tunes to the beat of the Harmonium and the Tabla.

Every morning the day began at the Ashram with a yoga session at 7:00 am which the students extremely enjoyed. Followed by Breakfast, Check in’s, assigning individual student roles for the day and an hour of Nepali language class. We had allotted a lesson and activity time of 1 hour 45 mins before the 12:00 pm lunch time, a period where lessons and activity would be facilitated by the I-team.  On this particular time frame the I-team conducted introductions on Eastern Philosophy, Hinduism, Spiritual autobiography, Summer course F.O.I on Community and inter-being in the land of the Himalayas and pre course article discussion about Mono-cultures of the Mind by Dr Vandana Shiva. The discussions were very well received by all the students and a burst of ideas came flowing in from everybody. On one occasion when discussing about the culture in the West and the culture in the East, Maddie came up with a very brilliant way of putting things into perspective. She narrated the story of the lizard and the fish, both species living in different worlds and how it is very hard for both of them to understand realties of the other world that’s very foreign to them. After lunch we usually had a short break where students had the time to take care of their laundry and personal needs and by 2:00 pm the students would be ready for their respective I.S.P’s. The I.S.P’s were very well received by the students, with a variety of interests ranging from dance, singing, tailoring, yoga, meditation, learning Nepali language to playing a musical instrument(table). After the I.S.P session the students allotted an hour to service work. This was a time when the students were engaged in service work like carrying sand to the construction site, helping the Ashram people prepare dinner and cleaning the community dining hall. After service work another hour was utilized by the students to interact with the members and kids of the Ashram. This interaction gave the students an insight into the lives of many different people in the Ashram, a world that seemed completely different from their own. We also managed to organize a soccer game, Ashram vs Dragons on a recently cleared patch of land that was located just above the Ashram. As most of the students were used to playing on smooth levelled grass grounds back home, it seemed challenging for them to find their footing on a surface filled with pebbles protruding everywhere. Direct the ball one way and it bounced on the rubble the other way. But the ground conditions did not stop them from wining the match. The final score was an impressive Dragons 5 – Ashram 4.  Every evening the day would end with mediation and chanting in the prayer hall.

After our final meet with everybody in the Ashram we leave tomorrow morning i.e 9th July and head towards Balamchaur Gurung village to stay until July 16. It will be a long journey and we may also find ourselves with little to no internet connectivity. We will try to keep everyone updated about our trip and the exciting adventures we encounter in the days ahead.  Our stay here at the Ashram has been very fruitful and rewarding to each of our students. Having learnt a lot about the culture that’s so vibrant and the community that is so well knit, we hope to continue our journey towards rural Nepal and find much more love and smiles.

Signing off

Nepal A-MAZING!!!

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SUMMER: Nepal - Group A

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Reflections on our ashram stay

Instructor Team,SUMMER: Nepal - Group A

Description

After a comfortable bus drive that lasted for 3 straight hours from Bhaktapur, being stranded in traffic under the blazing Kathmandu summer heat, meandering through potholes and cramped city highways, we reached Aurobindo Ashram at 1:00 pm in the afternoon. The Ashram was nestled at an altitude of 5,000 ft tucked below the Chandragiri Hills, […]

Posted On

07/9/17

Author

Instructor Team

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-06 21:11:01
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    [post_content] => The faces here are different than the faces I’ve looked into before. There are old people whose faces are wrinkled and weathered in different shades of gold and copper. They smile with wisdom and warmth and joy. I ask to take pictures only because I am stunned by their beauty.

There is no wrinkle cream. There are no detox face masks, and there are no exfoliation scrubs for “better” skin. There are no braces for your teeth. The women’s faces are bare and open and striking. Their smiles are so beautiful and graceful and real, every time. I feel like I am looking at goddesses when I see how naturally they move and speak in outpouring, flowing femininity.

The men’s faces are strong. Their eyes feel genuine and friendly. There is no bullshitting here, there is no fake hospitality when someone meets you: their home is the guest’s home, and the guest is treated with intense respect no matter who they are. They look with their faces and you feel no judgement.

I’ve never seen a face so innocent as the face of a child here. They are unafraid and playful and confident. Whether you know them or not, they still walk up to you to talk about anything. Their eyes soak up everything they see, and laughter comes to them easily and without hesitation. They get in my face, ask me questions, like I am an old friend who they haven’t seen in a long time-- personal space is not such a common value to them.

There are golden nose rings and red-powder smeared tikas between people’s eyebrows. There are dark eyes and timid smiles. There are high cheek bones. There are red and brown lips that calm songs pour out of.

The faces here are different than the faces I’ve looked into before. I have no make up. I have zits on my skin. My eyebrows are undone and wild, my upper lip unthreaded. There is hair on my legs, since I didn’t bring a razor. My hair is tied back in a clip every day. I didn’t bring any earrings or other jewelery to wear. My face is a face that feels different than the face I’ve looked into before. Yet whenever I look into people’s faces, I know they are really looking into mine.
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SUMMER: Nepal - Group A

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Faces

Maia Zelkha,SUMMER: Nepal - Group A

Description

The faces here are different than the faces I’ve looked into before. There are old people whose faces are wrinkled and weathered in different shades of gold and copper. They smile with wisdom and warmth and joy. I ask to take pictures only because I am stunned by their beauty. There is no wrinkle cream. […]

Posted On

07/6/17

Author

Maia Zelkha

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2017-07-06 21:09:21
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    [post_content] => 

As the clouds purge, a sweet release,

Tiny feet slap wet concrete.

A fierce hunger, cured by a hundred mothers,

Who birthed not one.

Buttoned down in yellow purity,

With round eyes that sometimes squint with malicious magic.

Home grown, grain and tea.

Babies kiss breasts and pull at earlobes.

Fruit ripens with the mind here.

The floors are swept with intent.

The halls foam and froath with bubbly intelligence.

A home of hundreds,

A heart of one.

   

-Summer Thyme

 

Also, mom, dad, Caleb, I miss and love you <3

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SUMMER: Nepal - Group A

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Untitled Poem

Summer Thyme Laurin,SUMMER: Nepal - Group A

Description

As the clouds purge, a sweet release, Tiny feet slap wet concrete. A fierce hunger, cured by a hundred mothers, Who birthed not one. Buttoned down in yellow purity, With round eyes that sometimes squint with malicious magic. Home grown, grain and tea. Babies kiss breasts and pull at earlobes. Fruit ripens with the mind […]

Posted On

07/6/17

Author

Summer Thyme Laurin

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Shiva Temple

I have never felt so much peace, so much love, so much devotion. The Shiva Temple in the hills of Bhaktapur holds a certain magical energry, along with the people in it, who hold no hate, resentment, or judgement in their hearts.

A beautiful man with a white beard, pink robe, and an orange hat, has the whole sun and all its warmth in his eyes; his smile full with purity, like a child’s laughter, resonates deep inside me. He gestures for me to come over, and as if there was no language needed for communication, he smiles and with his fingers in the clay, left a mark on my forehead, making me feel more grateful and blessed than any holy communion ever could.

 

Ganesha Temple

The sun first strikes on the Ganesha Temple in the hills of Bhaktapur. Walking in we are pleasantly shocked by the display of devotion. A large bell is ringing in a low ground shaking pitch, several dogs add to the melody with a mighty howl, a small child with a pink skirt and short hair laughs and prances around, celebrating the joy of this holy place. She runs towards another bell, and with a higher pitch resembling her energy, she rings and rings. Suddenly, all noise stops, pure silence, but the vibrations linger, and will linger eternally. The sun first strikes on the Ganesha temple in the hills of Bhaktapur, but it didn’t strike from the outside, the sun was within everything and everyone in the temple all along.

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SUMMER: Nepal - Group A

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Temples

Estefania Contreras,SUMMER: Nepal - Group A

Description

Shiva Temple I have never felt so much peace, so much love, so much devotion. The Shiva Temple in the hills of Bhaktapur holds a certain magical energry, along with the people in it, who hold no hate, resentment, or judgement in their hearts. A beautiful man with a white beard, pink robe, and an […]

Posted On

07/6/17

Author

Estefania Contreras

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