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Britney Ellis

On August 12th, the village had a celebration in honor of the end of planting. Each year, this village wide celebration takes place. I was lucky enough to experience this day in full swing. This is Giju day from an outsiders experience.

I live in a homestay with five other people, my homestay Mom (Darawan), her two brothers and her parents. On Giju day, her sister, and her brothers girlfriend joined us for the celebration. That day, I woke up at 7:30am and they asked me to join them. We sat in a circle, shown in the picture above, and Darawan’s parents said a prayer to each of their children as they tied a white piece of string around each of their wrists. After they finished, Darawan and her father each tied a Giju around my wrist and said a prayer.

Once everyone had finished, Darawan’s father blessed the food and the rice whiskey (used as a key element in this celebration) and began passing small drinks of the rice whiskey around the circle for each person to drink. Once everyone had some to drink, we started in on the food.

After the ceremony was over, it was time to head to the next house. Throughout the remainder of the day, I spent my time with a few volunteers and staff memembers going from house to house, eating, drinking rice whiskey, and laughing more than I have in a very long time.  This celebration was wonderful to be apart of. This village accepts people in ways that everyone around the world could learn from. Everyone is kind and accepts you for who you are rather than judging you based on where you come from or what you have. These people (including staff and other volunteers) join together daily to create a better enviornment and this day was proof that it can work.

I spent my day amongst some of the kindest people I have ever known. As the day continued, I enjoyed my time with the villagers. We played games and laughed and ended our day in a circle amongst other volunteers and a few villagers, just talking and enjoying each others company. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to share this experience with  and I am so thankful to have been apart of this celebration.


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