By Brady Covington,
While the overall experience in Prashanthigiri was an incredibly, eye opening experience, there is one day that stands out to me in particular: Sunday October 20th. This was a day close to the end of our journey, but one of the most powerful days for me personally. The group started their day off with a mass at the local church, but I chose to walk around the village and try to get some shots of the empty village while most of the inhabitants were at church.
This was the first time that I was able to walk around Prashanthigiri by myself, and not constantly be surrounded by 12 other foreigners. It gave me the opportunity to feel a lot less intrusive while walking around. Savitri, one of the women that our group had grown really close to, is Hindi and wasn’t at church. As I was walking by, she invited me into her house for tea. Again, this was the first time that I’d been alone with anyone in the village, without other people to help communicate. While neither of us spoke the same language, it was incredible how we were still able to communicate together through a lot of miming and laughter.
This became very common over the next few hours as I walked around. Because I was by myself, more people came up to me and talked to me then they had earlier in the week. While I was filming one man and his family, they invited me into their home and started showing me scenes that they wanted me to film. Because there wasn’t a huge film crew, I felt that the people of Prashanthigiri were more themselves, instead of posing for the cameras, and I was able to capture some very candid moments of the village.
On my walk back to the church, I met an English teacher and we talked for about 20 minutes about education, travel, and religion. Talking to her, and discovering her point of view of the world was inspirational.
Later that day after lunch, I was able to follow Emily, one of the Profugo field fellows, to the spoken English class where she teaches the young children in the village how to speak better English. A few minutes into class, Tyler and Isel, the other two field fellows, joined her. At this point, I had known the three of them for just over a week, but being able to watch them interact with these children, and seeing the passion and patience that they had was inspiring. The children were not only learning English, but also laughing, and having a good time as well.
I also had the chance to play cricket with one of the children named Suresh. The strength and courage that he shows, and his positive attitude and kindness was motivating. This was a child who has had an incredibly tough month during which he lost his father. Despite that, he was constantly smiling, running around, and was the friendliest person that I had met in Prashanthigiri.
This day was a great day where I really got to see the true character of Prashanthigiri, and its inhabitants in a way that I hadn’t experienced until that time. Because I was by myself, I was able to sit back and let the personality of the village show itself, instead of constantly having to look for it.