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Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008


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    [post_content] => December 8, 2008Reflections on IndiaIt’s such a daunting question. What did I learn in India? The first question everyone asks is, “How was India?”. “It was amazing!” I exclaim. But that really doesn’t come close to answering the question. As the cliché says, there are really no words to describe the feeling of traveling halfway around the world and back. It’s geographically about as far away as one can go from where I’m sitting right now. The people? – That’s a different story.The last night of the trip, we prompted the students to list one thing that they would like to bring home with them and one thing they’d like to leave behind. They were free to any interpretation of the question. Here’s what I brought back with me: 
  1. Everyone we encountered on our journey had the most generous spirit. When we wandered down a poor village alley, we were beckoned into people’s houses for chai; never asking for a rupee, only the chance to meet us. I hope that I brought back that generous spirit of giving to others for no other purpose than to make someone feel welcome. They brought out the best in themselves, and in turn, brought out the best in us.
  2. I brought back some very dirty clothes. I travel so sparely that I have some atrociously smelly clothing that I’m sick of, having worn the same 4 shirts for the last 17 days. Sorry girls.
  3. If for only a short time, I brought back my family of students. We had shared profoundly powerful moments together. I can’t think of a better group to travel with, to laugh deliriously with on a winding mountain road, to share meals with, or to gossip with on a train or a rooftop.
  4. I brought a few gifts for my family and friends, some prayer flags from Rishikesh, a Tibetan singing bowl for my father, scarves for my mother. Sadly, I lack that certain shopping gene that is dominant in the students (and teachers) around me.
Here’s what I left behind:
  1. For the first time in many years, I was not ashamed to say I was an American in a foreign country. In the past, I often told people I was Canadian. Canada brings no negative connotations in foreign countries. If anything, it brings up no connotation at all. I believe that I left a lasting and positive impression to the people we met in India; that I could be proud of being an American again.
  2. I left many preconceived notions of what the things and people would be like in India. After a few days, I dropped my guard. I loosened up, I spoke with people, and I asked questions. I tried to be more like the people in India and less like the people in the states. I left my feelings that anyone who approached me wanted something from me. They usually did not. They simply wanted to talk to me or asked permission to talk and flirt with my students.
  3. I left some friends behind. I left behind the teachers and students of Greenfield. The Greenfield School in Kiritpur, India is a wonderful achievement from a true visionary named Anjula. After her visit to Archer a couple of years ago, she understood how good a school could be and worked to make that vision a reality. Were it not for the Indian government’s intercession, she would have been able to start an all girl’s school. Currently, it’s a co-ed school. To make her dream a reality, she asked her parents for her dowry money to start the school. They reluctantly agreed. If you know anything about Indian culture, you understand just how radical that is for an Indian woman. She took her commitment even further by selling all of her family jewelry to buy a generator to keep the lights on during power outages.
  4. At the end of our visit, we collectively left enough money to Greenfield to give a scholarship to 100 girls. Anjula is equal parts integrity and intelligence, grit and generosity. She has the daunting and wonderful task of selecting students, buying uniforms and purchasing books. In short, 100 students will have a chance to change their lives. If they stay in school, they get the scholarship. If they leave, another girl will receive the scholarship. Anjula single-handedly changed the world around her. I admire her and am awed by her.
Peace,David Smith [post_title] => Reflections on India [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => reflections-on-india [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2008-12-08 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=52573 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 443 [name] => Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008 [slug] => archer-custom-north-india-winter-2008 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 443 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 486 [count] => 42 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 27.1 [cat_ID] => 443 [category_count] => 42 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008 [category_nicename] => archer-custom-north-india-winter-2008 [category_parent] => 486 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/winter-2008/archer-custom-north-india-winter-2008/ ) ) [category_links] => Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008 )

Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

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Reflections on India

David Smith,Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

Description

December 8, 2008Reflections on IndiaIt’s such a daunting question. What did I learn in India? The first question everyone asks is, “How was India?”. “It was amazing!” I exclaim. But that really doesn’t come close to answering the question. As the cliché says, there are really no words to describe the feeling of traveling halfway […]

Posted On

12/8/08

Author

David Smith

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Dear Kristin and Christina,

Ella and Clancey are forever touched by your presence in their lives.

Though your time together was brief but it was so very meaningful.

My girls really feel they got to know you both and they raved about each of you.

Your experience and kindness has inspried them.

In their words, you are amazing.

I hope one day we all get to meet.

Until then ... I wish you love and happiness,

XO,

Mea

P.S. Kristin, thank you for taking care of Clancey when she had her migrain. Your sensitivity was so comforting.

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Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

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A BIG THANK YOU

Mea Argentieri,Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

Description

Dear Kristin and Christina, Ella and Clancey are forever touched by your presence in their lives. Though your time together was brief but it was so very meaningful. My girls really feel they got to know you both and they raved about each of you. Your experience and kindness has inspried them. In their words, […]

Posted On

11/30/08

Author

Mea Argentieri

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Namaste,

I am sitting in the Sabharwal Homestay this morning and the walls and corridors still ring with the sound of your daughters’ laughter, still echo with all of the experiences we shared and the love that grew between us as a group. The girls left at around midnight last night, and I couldn’t help but shed a few tears as I saw their bus pull out of our driveway and on towards the airport and your homes. Of course a special connection is created on every program between students and each other, instructors and students, and instructors with each other, but I feel I need to reiterate how unique this group was in my eyes and how deeply each one touched my heart. Mr. Smith and Ms. Fuller are incredible teachers and were a dream to work with. Your daughters are some of the most grounded, caring, and mature students I’ve ever traveled with. And Christina is my ideal co-instructor on so many levels – as a sister, friend, and psychic worker!

We had a final ceremony last night that really hit home for me as it really represented how special this trip was and how deeply we connected. We had a “hot seat” circle for Maddy’s birthday and everyone went around and shared a special experience they shared with her, or a quality about her they admired. Everyone had such genuine and wonderful things to say – it was moving to be a part of! Then we all went around and shared some experience/memory/lesson/realization that we would liketo take home from India, and also something we wanted to leave behind – be it a misconception or a quality fostered that we wanted to leave with the people we met. I wish all of you could have been there to hear the responses – again, some of the most genuine and wise reflections I’ve heard.

When I think back about the trip, it seems but a blink of the eye. Two weeks is barely a blip in the personal histories we are creating in our lives, the stories we are unfolding as we grow up. Two weeks flies in the chaos and fun of the Indian playground. But the experiences we had and the connections we fostered in these two weeks are life changing and made us grow so much! Thinking back, these two weeks seem like a dream already, but this is a dream I will never forget – a rare thing for the constant nomads like Christina and myself. I cannot tell you enough times how wonderful your daughters are, and I must thank you for raising such exceptional human beings.

Soon your girls will be in your arms, buzzing with stories and glowing with their bright new Indian fashions! Maybe they will seem a little culture shocked at the speed you drive home from the airport or the softness of their beds. Maybe you will catch them staring off into space, and you will sense they’re back in India for a moment through the vividness of their daydreams. Be patient with their reintegration – sometimes it can feel alienating for both sides. But I know that you will immediately sense that your girls have become more of the strong, courageous, loving, and worldly women they are – qualities that were there in their hearts their whole lives but have now crystallized by the profundity of their experience.

Thank you again for trusting us with your precious daughters, and I truly hope that I will see them all again soon and hopefully meet some of you in the future!

Take care,

Kristin

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Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

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In the air

Kristin Brudevold,Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

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Namaste, I am sitting in the Sabharwal Homestay this morning and the walls and corridors still ring with the sound of your daughters’ laughter, still echo with all of the experiences we shared and the love that grew between us as a group. The girls left at around midnight last night, and I couldn’t help […]

Posted On

11/29/08

Author

Kristin Brudevold

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    [post_content] => Dear Parents and Friends of the Archer Group,A few hours ago, Christina called to confirm that the group had checked in and that they were awaiting their flight, scheduled to leave at 3:30 am this morning (India time). According to the British Aiways website, they took off just a few minutes late and are now headed for London Heathrow.Despite the challenges of the final days of this program, this has been a phenomenal trip, and a lot of that isdue to thematurity, engagement, thoughtfulness and culturally sensitivity of these incredible young women.As a group and as individuals, they consistently demonstrated their ability to adapt to new situations, to travel with an open mind, and to support their peers and those with whom they met. Christina and Kristin were incredibly impressed with each of your daughters, and we thank you for sharing them with us.The flight arrives back in Los Angeles via London (Heathrow) at 1:25 pm. (British Airways Flight #279) I encourage you to check the following link for updates: http://www.britishairways.com/travel/arrdep/public/en_us . I am sure that the girls are looking forward to sharing all of their stories and photos with you, and will encourage them to post some of their reflections on Yak Yak (Reflections).Please feel free to write me with any questions or feedback as I would love to hear from you after you have had some time to reconnect with your daughters.Thank you.Jamie Woodall
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Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

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The Journey Home

Jamie Woodall,Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

Description

Dear Parents and Friends of the Archer Group,A few hours ago, Christina called to confirm that the group had checked in and that they were awaiting their flight, scheduled to leave at 3:30 am this morning (India time). According to the British Aiways website, they took off just a few minutes late and are now […]

Posted On

11/29/08

Author

Jamie Woodall

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Hi friends!

Just a few sentence note to let you know that we have finished our day outing (including amazing food and shopping) and have now safely returned to the homestay hotel where we are now just packing and cleaning up for our flight this evening. We have a few closing ceremonies, but we will be staying in the hotel until we leave for the airport. We've also encouraged all the girls to text/call/write and quickly check-in at home. Bet you're all excited! They'll soon be on their way home to you!

Kristen will post again once our flight has departed. Thanks for you trust and patience!

The India I-team

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Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

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Relaxing at our homestay!

Christina, Kristin, David & Katrina,Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

Description

Hi friends! Just a few sentence note to let you know that we have finished our day outing (including amazing food and shopping) and have now safely returned to the homestay hotel where we are now just packing and cleaning up for our flight this evening. We have a few closing ceremonies, but we will […]

Posted On

11/28/08

Author

Christina, Kristin, David & Katrina

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    [post_content] => Hello Friends & Family,

Just wanted to let you all know that we have very safely arrived in Delhi. The girls are all checked into their rooms and just turning into bed as I type.

As Jamie has mentioned, we briefed the students this morning on the events in Mumbai, opened up the space for communication of any fears, and assured that all students had had some sort of communication with home. We have, since, continued to be in regular contact with both Jamie and a number of other local contacts/resources with whom we have continued to carefully assess the situation and assure our safest navigation of the last 48 hours of our itinerary, emphasizing the need for heightened awareness, cultural sensitivity and measures of caution within the entire group. As we have communicated to the girls, both their, and your, feeling of safety, are our highest priority.

As we have not been exposed to the international flood of information and images, the mood within the group is actually very calm and light-hearted. Today we gave the girls a little shopping time (in small groups) in which they also prepared a surprise party for Maddy which included Indian party favors, birthday-girl hat, games, song/rap, decorations, presents and two cakes. We celebrated in a beautiful cushioned tree house overlooking the Ganga-ji, in which we each bathed a toe or mala (sacred Hindu version of a rosary) before leaving Rishikesh. We travelled to and from the train station in private vehicles and have encountered slightly heightened security presence and no problems at all.

Our plans for tomorrow remain flexible as we continue to adapt to the information and advices of our local and international contacts. For now, we have rented private jeeps for a day outing to a nice final farewell lunch and a last group shopping trip. We'll return to the hotel in the afternoon and spend the rest of the evening here, enjoying a few transference talks and goodbye ceremonies and giving the girls comfortable down time in which to pack, shower, nap, eat a delicious meal prepared by our homestay-hotel and get ready for our late evening departure for the airport.

Thank you again for trusting us with your girls, each of whom we adore and love like family ourselves. It has been the greatest pleasure working with this group; Kristin and I have so often sighed our love and appreciation for this, truly, outstanding little community of respectful, kind, curious and especially intelligent young women. Never have we had a group that has been such a consistent source of fresh appreciation, respect and joy. Thank you so much for sharing them with us!

Time for us to all turn in for the night, but we promise to keep you updated as we move through our last day in India and get the girls on the plane and safely on their way back home to you. If you have any concerns at all, have no hesitation in contacting Jamie, the Dragons office, or us. And we'll be in touch again soon.

Thank you!

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Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

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Safe & Comfortable in Delhi

Christina & Kristin,Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

Description

Hello Friends & Family, Just wanted to let you all know that we have very safely arrived in Delhi. The girls are all checked into their rooms and just turning into bed as I type. As Jamie has mentioned, we briefed the students this morning on the events in Mumbai, opened up the space for […]

Posted On

11/27/08

Author

Christina & Kristin

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Dear Parents,

Katrina and I wanted to reiterate the sentiments from Christina and Kristen. We have been so impressed and proud of all of our girls on this trip. They approach each new situation with open eyes and open hearts - always willing to try new things. You will certainly notice a change, a strengthened sence of maturity, in each of them.

Although the news of Mumbai is scary, we all feel safe and secure. Our hotel, where we will be spending most of the day, is in a residential area of Delhi. In fact, it is really more of a small Bed and Breakfast and is nowhere near any major hotels.

Rest assured, we will stay on top of the news and do everything necessary to keep them safe, while relishing our last few hours in this incredible country.

This has truely been a life-changing trip for all of us.The girlswill cherish these memories and are so excited to share their stories and their pictures with you. Even though they love this country, they miss you (and their beds) dearly.

See you all soon.

David

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Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

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Our last Day in India

David Smith,Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

Description

Dear Parents, Katrina and I wanted to reiterate the sentiments from Christina and Kristen. We have been so impressed and proud of all of our girls on this trip. They approach each new situation with open eyes and open hearts – always willing to try new things. You will certainly notice a change, a strengthened […]

Posted On

11/27/08

Author

David Smith

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    [post_date] => 2008-11-26 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Dear Parents of Archer Students,I just spoke with one of the instructors, Christina, and she reports that everyone is doing well and that they are all spending today wandering through the little town of Rishikesh, shopping and preparing for a big Thanksgiving feast. They have hired a private minibus for the day which will also transport them to the train station this Thursday evening (India time). Some of the girls may have already contacted home. For those that have not heard directly from their daughters, I can assure you that everyoneis doing well, enjoying their final day in Rishikesh.I thought you also might like to know what the instructors have done on their end to respond to the events in Mumbai (Bombay) and to make the girls feel secure. First of all, they briefed the students about the events and gave them the opportunity to express their fears or ask questions. They emphasized the importance of ensuring that both the students and their parents feel safe and taken care of. Theyalso discussed the increased securitythey could expect to see when they arrive in Delhi. In this way, they will not be alarmed by the obvious military and police presence.

The instructors and I have also discussed the ways in which they will exercise additional caution during the girls' last day of the program in Delhi. These include keeping a low profile and dressing locally, avoiding the 5-star hotels and other tourist hot spots, staying together as a group, maintaining good lines of communication, and using private transportation if deemed necessary. As more information becomes available, we will continue to be in touch with the instructors and make any necessary changes to those recommendations.

You should also know that the hotel where the group will be staying is far from the central hotel district. The Sabharwal Homestay is located in a residential area of Delhi.

We continue to follow the story closely and will keep posting notes either via email or on Yak Yak.

Best regards,

Jamie Woodall

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Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

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Student Briefing on Events in Mumbai

Jamie Woodall,Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

Description

Dear Parents of Archer Students,I just spoke with one of the instructors, Christina, and she reports that everyone is doing well and that they are all spending today wandering through the little town of Rishikesh, shopping and preparing for a big Thanksgiving feast. They have hired a private minibus for the day which will also […]

Posted On

11/26/08

Author

Jamie Woodall

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Our last day at Greenfeilds was full of tears of goodbye, and smiles of hope we would see each other again. Before we left we all sat in a circle and discussed how we could not only continue our personal relationships with the girls, but how we could keep the relationship between the school as a whole strong and long lasting. Each specialized group; creative writing, photography, advisory, and student store, explained to the group and Anjula their specific plans in continuing these activities in the future. A contact list of adresses, emails and phone numbers was created by all the Archer students and handed to Anjula to ensure communication of any failures, concerns, or successes GFPS and Archer have in the future. We will never forget the final moments with the girls, and pressing our hands against theirs through the glass windows of the cars that would take us on our next adventure.

The Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama Ashram experience was one we will never forget as well, and though our time there was short it was very inspirational. The knowledge we gained from each class in meditation, yoga, diaphramatic breathing, digestive breathing, and spiritial realization, will forever engrained in our memories. We all hope to take a little part of this lifestyle home with us.

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Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

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Archer and Greenfield’s Future Communication

Clancey Cornell,Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

Description

Our last day at Greenfeilds was full of tears of goodbye, and smiles of hope we would see each other again. Before we left we all sat in a circle and discussed how we could not only continue our personal relationships with the girls, but how we could keep the relationship between the school as […]

Posted On

11/26/08

Author

Clancey Cornell

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    [post_content] => Hello Archer Parents,These flight details were posted in the Prep section of the Yak Yak board but I thought it might be helpful to re-post them here for you as well. Please note that the students will be arriving at 1:25 PM on Saturday, November 29th. I will be checking the British Airways website for any delays, and will post any news, but you may also want to do the same. As I write, the girls are spending their last evening at the ashram in Rishikesh, before heading out to Haridwar tomorrow evening where they will catch a night train to Delhi. Their days have been filled with mediation and yoga sessions, and lectures from internationally renowned teachers of eastern philosophy.The instructors have been working hard to help the girls also use this time to process everything they have experienced in the past 12 days, and to better prepare them for their transition back home.We all look forward to their return, and the countless stories they will have to share. You may have noticed that we also have a "Reflections" section of the Yak Yak page, and just as it sounds, this is where we encourage travelers to post their thoughts about their experience, after returning home. We are expecting several more Yak Yak postings before the group heads home on Saturday, so stay posted! Also, a final thanks to all the parents who have posted notes for the group! We appreciate your enthusiasm! 

Saturday, November 29, 2008

British Airways - Flight BA 0142
Depart:Delhi Indira Gandhi Int'l Airport
Delhi, IN
3:30 AM
Terminal 2
Arrive:London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow, GB
7:15 AM
Terminal 5

Saturday, November 29, 2008

British Airways - Flight BA 0279
Depart:London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow, GB
10:15 AM
Terminal 5
Arrive:Los Angeles Int'l Airport
Los Angeles, CA, US
1:25 PM
Terminal B
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Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

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Return Flight details

Jamie Woodall,Archer Custom: North India, Winter 2008

Description

Hello Archer Parents,These flight details were posted in the Prep section of the Yak Yak board but I thought it might be helpful to re-post them here for you as well. Please note that the students will be arriving at 1:25 PM on Saturday, November 29th. I will be checking the British Airways website for […]

Posted On

11/26/08

Author

Jamie Woodall

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