PIC: The Placement group setting out to Kolkata from Shillong
Over the last 8 weeks we have had various life-enriching experiences in the villages of Assam and Meghalaya. Sent two by two, we stayed in the houses of certain families in these villages. Our primary objective was to observe their way of life, to see what nourished their lives, what gave them meaning and also study their customs and rituals, and to learn from their relationship with God.
So during our stay with them, we chatted with them, visited houses, prayed for families and listened to the many stories that people shared with us. There were times when we were asked to help in the local schools and we either taught the children or ran training programs for the teachers.
We were in awe of their quest for life, of the manner they coped with the ravages of nature, of their Job-like surrender in the midst of suffering. Their hospitality was over-whelming, and there seemed to be an open-house attitude prevalent in most of the families we visited.
In our observations and interactions with the people, we noted that happiness went beyond possessions and circumstances, thus proving it was “an inside job”! It was obvious that the poor are the most vulnerable to being exploited and shows why they are more dependent on God than those that are self-sufficient. We saw that vested interests prevent the poor from improving their lot, and yet, like all people, the poor like their dignity respected. We agreed ultimately, that basic formal schooling was fundamental to human development.
The Immersion Experience thus furthered the rationale for OWITF, and helped us in bonding together for our Journeying Together.