The Way to School
Trip Start Jan 01, 2011
17Trip End May 22, 2011
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But anyway... A couple weeks ago we finally had our first Service Learning class. We got to go to a school in Bangalore called Dream School. The reason why this was significant is because it is a school specifically designated for rescued children. Children are able to come to this school free of charge if they are abused, homeless, forced beggars, etc. What I mean by forced beggars is that many children here, is that there is a "beggar mafia" as it is called, where homeless children, orphaned children, runaways, etc. are taken in by couples or people that seem to be very nice and want to help them, and end up on the streets forced to beg. Often, these children are mutilated, such as having a limb cut off because it helps them receive more money while begging. For a very good article explaining this "beggar mafia," check out: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1127056/The-real-Slumdog-Millionaires-Behind-cinema-fantasy-mafia-gangs-deliberately-crippling-children-profit.html
This article goes into depth of some of the things that happen to these children that are out on the streets. This is why it is so hard to make sure that you do not give money to these children beggars, although you want to, you can't.... because it will not go to them, it will go to their "pimp."
But on to a brighter note.... I just wanted to give a little detail of what goes on in these beggars lives... this school is made to help these children. They can call a phone number and it will direct them to a 24 hour hotline that is based at this school, and they just have to tell of their situation and they can receive transportation, food, clothing and everything to get to this school. The school takes in babies all the way up to the age of 18. They help the older kids get ready to either try to move onto college, or train them to get a real job, mostly in tailoring or computer work... but a job either way. These kids were awesome here. They got so excited that we were there, and especially that we were all interested in hearing about them, and especially what they were learning about. There were so many children of different age groups in different classes, as they were brought in at different times of their lives, so some may have been all the way up to 12 years old, and never attended any form of schooling before. There is a way to volunteer at this school, and I'm waiting to hear back on how and what you can do, because I think it would be an awesome experience to work along side these children up close and try to teach them anything I can. I'll keep everyone updated on whether or not I find out anything about this or not.
So two days after this trip, for my Indian Culture class, we finished our heritage tour around Bangalore. We got to go to a Buddhist temple, a Hindu Bull Temple, and a Jain temple. The Buddhist temple was amazing, I really enjoyed learning more about the religion, and also really want to go back to learn even more... I find Buddhism fascinating. The monk that spoke to us really got me interested in coming back specifically to this place. He said that they have special days and times that foreigners and non-Buddhists can come in for services and to learn more about Buddhism and what it is all about. I really enjoyed learning that Buddhism was originally not a real religion. The original Buddha meant for it to be a spiritual way of living; a way for mankind to be able to free themselves and find their deepest most inner peace. I learned that when Buddha was on his death bed, that someone asked him whom they should follow now that he will be gone. He responded saying that no one was ever supposed to follow him; he just wanted everyone to follow their own path, to find out how to find their inner peace on their own. Also, the monk said that it wasn't until about 500 years after the original Buddha’s death, that people started calling it Buddhism, and referring to Buddhism as an actual religion. He said that some Buddhists these days will call it a religion, which is alright in some respects as to how to easily explain what it is; but that is not really what Buddhism is all about. I am really, very, very interested in going back to this society to learn more. It really helped me to grasp what religion, or should I say, spirituality is all about in India, as Buddhism is definitely not popular back in the US.
Then, there was the Hindu "Big Bull Temple." This temple was kinda cool.... and this huge bull statue was over 500 years old. As you'll be able to see in the photos... the bull looks black, but apparently was sculpted out of granite. The grey granite was eventually turned black after all these years because there is a ritual where they have to rub charcoal and oil all over it. The guy there really didn't do too much explaining as to why this ritual is done, and what exactly the significance of the bull to the Hindu religion is... so this place wasn't too exciting to me.
The Jain temple was pretty awesome though. We didn't really learn anything specific about the religion, except that a very high majority of Jains are very wealthy. This entire temple was four stories tall, and was made completely out of hand carved white marble. The photos I took will show you all in a lot better detail.. but all in all, this temple was absolutely, astonishingly amazing to look at and wander around in.
Well, that's basically it for this post.... wish I could tell you guys a little bit more about the actual temples than just what I thought about them... but hope you enjoyed anyway!
~We Only Part, To Meet Again~