Year Course Year Course in Mumbai
On Sunday, 12 Jewish females embarked on a journey of a lifetime. Arriving in the Mumbai International Airport we were filled with excitement for this trip but, in the back of our minds we could not dodge the nervous feeling of having no idea what to expect. We knew how different the culture would be, but we were not sure entirely how. Coming from various locations in the US and North West London, we have a preconceived notion of how someone lives in the western world. But when asked about the average life of someone in Mumbai, we would not be able to tell you too much. For a lot of us, on of the reasons why we traveled here was too witness the living practices of people here and learn more about Indian culture.
“I came on this trip to experience a culture that is completely foreign to me and take the lessons I learn from it home and have it affect the way I learn and see the world around me,” says Anna Stewart of Yama, from West Chester, Pennsylvania.
After spending five days here, we have learned around 30 phrases in Hindi from a GPM staff named Dennis Moses. After studying Hebrew for 5 months, we were shocked that something could stretch our brains farther than that. Hindi is an incredibly challenging but beautiful language. Dennis was incredibly patient with us as we butchered the sounds and spoke the words extremely incorrectly in our American and British Accents. From those few lessons alone we learned something amazing about the people of India. It is an extremely welcoming and kind country. The people here are eager to help and welcome you into their community.
The Gabriel Project Staff have been especially helpful showing us around Mumbai, giving us advice on how to cope with spicy food, and answering any questions we have about India. A very special thanks to Denis, Dov, David, Leron, Jacob and Rachel for making this experience so much more enriching. The Gabriel Project Mumbai is our entire reason for being here and having a life changing experience.
GPM is an organization that aims to help reduce poverty in the slums of Mumbai by educating its citizens along with providing them with clean water, health care, and hygiene products. We spent three days learning about life how GPM executes its mission and how we can responsibly assist them in making the Slums a more liveable place for its residents. On Friday we went and visited the Slums of Kalwa, and witnessed all of the projects GPM runs.
Their women’s empowerment program was especially touching for us. “It was amazing to see empowerment of woman being encouraged by the Gabriel Project Mumbai that service particularly spoke to me” Maddy Duchen of Yama from Northwest London. Eve Laub of Kedma from West Hartford Connecticut spoke about how happy the residents of Kalwa are “Going to the slums was eye opening. These kids had so little yet were greeting us with open arms. A simple wave or “hello” put a huge smile on their faces. I never knew people could be this happy”. After seeing the operations of GPM today, we are incredibly excited to teach the children on Monday and Tuesday and continue to engage in Indian culture over the weekend and spend shabbat with the thriving Jewish Community of Mumbai.
Chanti (Peace) From India
Julia Keizler, Maddy Duchen, Lydia Sheldon, Jenna Uhr, Mia Milewich, Eve Laub, Shelby Sheck, Netanya Ronn, Eve Baliff, Anna Stewart, Miriam Morris, and our wonderful Madricha Ayala