Phir Milenge (See You Later)!

My time in Varanasi came to a close in the month of December. I tried to savor everything I could about the city – the buffalo stampedes, the five-rupee roadside chai, the yappy dog that lived on the other side of the street of NIRMAN, and especially the boat rides on the Ganga.

Boats in the Ganga river

The Kalamazoo students put on a final performance before we left Varanasi. It was really quite magical to be able to show all the teachers what they had taught us for the past few months and to showcase the amount of time all of us Kalamazoo kids took to really understand Indian culture. Mary Rose Tobin, Sonia Camarena Morales, and I performed a traditional Northern Indian dance called Kathak. It’s so crazy to think of me trying to stomp my feet to the beat of the tabla drum in the middle of Monsoon season. I hadn’t realized how far our rhythm had actually come until this performance!

We also had the opportunity to present our ICRPs. I drew portraits of the ten “didis” (sisters) that work the kitchen and maintain NIRMAN’s beautiful campus. These women are the ones that make NIRMAN the wonderful place that it is, and I’m so thrilled that I could help appreciate them and their beauty by drawing them.

A woman holding up the a drawing of a woman

We performed yoga…

Three women doing yoga

…and with the assistance of our teachers, performed the Ramayana in Hindi!

Three woman performing a scene from the ancient Indian poem RamayanaFive women performing a scene of RamayanaTwo women on stage performing a scene from RamayanaTwo women, in character, reenacting a scene of Ramayana

Four smiling women in traditional dress

Our performance was such a marvelous way to finish such a wholesome experience. Varanasi will always have a place in my heart.

The five performers bow on stage after their performance

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Courtney Wise ʼ15

About Courtney Wise ʼ15

Courtney Wise is a senior at Kalamazoo College. She is an anthropology/sociology major with a community and global health concentration. Courtney studied abroad in Varanasi, India for six months from July to December of 2013. Outside of academics, she enjoys running on the cross-country team, making puns, eating, stimulating conversations, and playing Scattergories.