The day after we arrived, we decided to go exploring a bit in Pondicherry. Professor Talcott took a small group of us to the Lakshmi temple, the goddess of wealth. Once we walked through the gates, there was an elephant taking money and grass from worshippers and blessing them with her trunk. This mammoth of an animal was the most gentle creature with beautiful eyes and a soul that spoke loudly. She was very skillful at her work, often blessing two for the price of one, simply because she felt it necessary. Being that close to the animal kingdom, even if in a less than ethical way, made me pause and reflect the meaning of human. I know we just made and held eye contact, but being in her presence effected me.
Today we spent most of the day traveling around to different NGOs and hearing each of their stories. Most are truly amazing, and all need help. By the end of the day, we had heard from five different founders, each with a compelling reason for why we should work for them. When we arrived at SALT, a childrens home for Indian orphans, we were all exhausted. Melquie, a generous and loving social worker, cares for the 25 children that live with him. Last year a student felt so compelled to assist the home and other organizations, she stayed in India and joined us to give her story. Although we had spent the day bouncing around on the bus, their work was compelling enough to boost our spirits and renergize us. Hearing about the work that she was able to acomplish made me very excited to get my hands dirty. Until then, we will continue to stretch time and fit as much into this trip, and as many people on that bus as possible.