Saturday, October 21, 2006

Oxfam Community Leadership Program

We had come from all over Australia, and it just so happened that my mate Jill from Bunbury was also on the program. We became instant buddies and just wanted to get out of our hotel and explore.

We were told from the group leaders that the people we would meet would sing us traditional songs from their village. We were expected to reciprocate, so we duly went into little groups to practice Waltzing Matilda. We then sang for the group, and our tour leader role played, saying "These Australians have just sung a song about a man who lives in the bush, steals a sheep, cooks it and then gets in trouble from the police. He then jumps into a lake and becomes a ghost, which haunts the town". We decided Home Among the Gumtrees with its actions was possibly a better choice.

I learned that while many Indians are deep in poverty, they are rich in culture and beliefs. Women would cup my hands and say "You poor poor woman. You are 30 years old, you have no children and you live on your own. You must be very sad. We will pray that you find a husband". And sure enough, two months later I was engaged. I think we take for granted that we have a rich culture. I think we are a bit lost as Australians. And being in India taught me that.

Check out the Western Australian calendar in the pic with the hands. It was a present for the village.

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