So, I am slowly marking off "things to do while in India..."
Saturday night I wore a Sari for the first time. Our opportunity was provided by an OWC fundraiser, "India Night". It was the perfect time to try a sari. I have to admit that I was a bit nervous. I had heard stories of saris slipping down or off at inopportune moments and I was certain that if it would happen to anyone, it would be me. I have never really been a "girly-girl", rarely wear skirts or dresses and generally wear jeans or here, the salwar kameez "Indian pants-suit". The highest high heels I ever endure are rarely over one inch, and lots of sparkly jewelery? Ummm... nope. Not me. So a sari, along with all of the traditional accessories, is the antithesis of "me".
Some weeks ago I knew that this event was coming and so while at one of the many, (and a particularly good one) handcraft and handloom expos, I oggled and purchased one and then two silk sarees. My choices felt limited due to my coloring. There are many bright and beautiful colors here in India, but given my light brown hair and light olive toned skin, not many of them look good on me. There are some that work but given my aversion to sparkly, I tend to be drawn the simpler, subtler designs. These are the ones I purchased
So, the plan was to meet up at a friends' house and aided by her dear housekeeper Violet and daughter Ruby, we were folded, tucked, pinned and adorned.
We were SO grateful for their help. I'm not sure how one could put a sari on unaided! We felt like we were getting ready for a wedding or something. Then the finishing touches, our flower garlands, were put on. These were a gift from our drivers, who were very concerned that their "madams" looked respectable and proper in their Indian attire.
A small photo shoot followed and we were then off for the event itself.
A lovely garden setting, Indian food and chaat, Hindi music and singing... it was a lovely night and all for a good cause...
Now, at this time I feel inclined to share a story about one of those causes.
A couple of months ago I joined the OWC charity committee. My "job" is to act as a contact for some of the charities that we support. Finding out what their needs are, acting as a conduit for that support, and ensuring that funds are used properly and appropriately. While on a visit to one of the charities last week my friend and fellow committee member, Andrea, asked if I would like to join her in visiting Home of Hope. It is one of "our charities" and is a home where people go who are homeless, unable to care for themselves, mentally ill or disturbed, sick and dying... really a last stop for many. They are brought here by concerned citizens, police officers, etc... Here they are provided with a place to sleep, medical care where possible and needed, and some food. They are kept alive and cared for. This facility is Christian, meaning that the organizer is Christian and inspired by Christians like Mother Theresa. It is not a church, nor is it a conversion center or anything else of the sort.
Well, a couple of weeks ago there were some troubling things that happened in our area. In Orissa there has been trouble between the Hindus and Christians for some months and here in Karnataka there were some epoisodes where churches were attacked and ransacked and holy relics were destroyed. Something like this happened in Bangalore and when it did there was a situation where the organizer of Home of Hope was wrongly accused of making trouble and arrested. He was held for three days, beaten, and in subsequent news stories was apparently passed off as someone who takes advantage of people's donations and gets all of this money and... this is just so not true. If you could see this facility. There are people everywhere, of all ages, (yes, including children) and they currently house about 250 people in a facility that is meant for 150. The organizer, Raja, lives on site with his family and this is what they do. Because of these accusations, many of his local supporters have stopped (hopefully only for the time being) giving donations. This is someone who has been well respected and honored in the community and this situation has hit him very deeply, not just in terms of being able to do his work, but also on a personal, emotional level. He is hurting. Locally, we are trying to get food to him ASAP and support Home of Hope as we are able.
If you feel so inclined, it would be such a support to him to get some help at this time. He is very burdened at the moment and even small contributions can go surprisingly far in India. They have a website - New Ark Mission - also linked above and they are already all set up for Paypal.
If you do make a donation, let me know in the comments... you won't be sorry. ;)