Sunday, February 28, 2010

Safik and Atiya's Wedding in Gujarat

This blog post is dedicated to not only Safik and Atiya but also to all of you out there who have bugging me for the last year to blog again.

I have been traveling for almost the entire month of February. The first stop was in Ahmadabad, Gujarat for Safik's wedding. I got to know Safik a year ago when I first arrived at HMI while he was attending a workshop. He later became a student here at HMI and a good friend so it was a privilege to be able to attend his wedding. The day of the wedding we drove with the grooms family and friends in 2 buses and many cars for a couple hours to the brides house in a lovely village.

Timothee and I sitting with Safik as we wait for the wedding ceremony to start.

Safik's soon to be sister-in-law and the women of the house harassing him in good fun before the wedding.

The wedding ceremony, under a colorful canopy.

As part of the wedding ceremony the Imam asks Safik three times if he wants to marry Atiya. Then he signs the marriage certificate.

In a separate room Atiya also gets asked three times by the Imam if she wants to marry Safik before signing the marriage certificate.

After a lovely Gujariti feast Atiya said tearful goodbyes to her family before we started our journey back to Safik's house in Ahmadabad.

That evening more ceremonies took place at Safik's house to welcome the new bride. Here Atiya feeds her new husband various symbolic foods out of her beautifully hennaed hand.

The next evening at the reception we were able to meet Atiya for the first time and see her without a veil.

Safik and Atiya are now staying at HMI while Safik finishes up his course so we get the privilege of getting to know them as a newly married couple.

शादी मुबारक हो! Shadi mubaarak ho! (many blessings in your marriage)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pictures from Hyderabad

Here are a few pictures from around Hyderabad.

Char Minar, Landmark in Hyderabad built to commemorate the end of a plague.

Char Minar, Hyderabad.

Inside Char Minar, Hyderabad

View of Hyderabads Old City from Char Minar

View of the Buddha Statue in Husain Sagar Lake from Lumbini Park, Hyderabad

Dock at Lumbini Park

Buddha Statue from Necklace Road

Wedding of a coworkers sister

Volleyball with HMI Staff and students.

Playing Holi (the Festival of Color) again.

My room in the HMI Hostel

Aman-Shanti Prayer Hall at dusk, HMI

Inside Aman-Prayer Hall, HMI

Morning devotions, Aman-Shanti Prayer Hall, HMI

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jouney to the Deccan

I am sorry that I have not blogged lately and kept you up to date. Lots has transpired in the last few weeks. I'll start at the present and give you a quick rundown of the significant events in reverse chronological order.

I am now living in Hyderabad, India, and working with the Conflict Transformation (CT) team of the Henry Martyn Institute (HMI). It's a wonderful place with even more wonderful people. Although I do miss the beaches and my friends on the Andamans. I'll post pictures and more details of my work shortly, inshalla.

Between moving from the Andamans Islands to Hyderabad we had an MCC Retreat in Nepal. It was really great to meet the other MCCers on our team who are working in Nepal and Afghanistan. I got to spend a few short days with Subhekchya's parents in Kathmandu and had a wonderful time. The retreat was held in Pokhara which offered a great time to relax, relate and reflect... oh and we also got to go paragliding (don't worry that wasn't on MCC's bill).

Amongst all this exciting change there was also the sadness of leaving the Andmans and the good friends I have made there. They gave me a very meaningful farewell and my thoughts are with them as they finish up the project. Before I left Liz and Laura came to visit and we took a few days to visit Havelock Island and I finally got to go scuba diving after being on the Andamans for a year.

Before I left the Andamans I also had a quick trip to Bangladesh (to get my visa stamped). It was great to be able to spend time with Sri (the Asia Peace Coordinator) and Sarah (who is doing peace work for MCC Bangladesh). I didn't get to see a lot of Bangladesh but it was a good time to start switching gears from water to peace.

The main job I had on the Andamans this last time was to organize the National Water Seminar which was held at the end of January. It came off well and was a huge learning experience for me. One of the other jobs was conducting a Borewell Mapping Project. A few significant findings came out of the research but with the amount of time it was only a beginning.

So here I am in a new place making new friends and trying to see how I can fit into a new team.