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Jeewan Jal Day 2: Care + Community

How do people view the act of caring? Perhaps, the act of caring or compassion is so ingrained in humanity that it is easy to overlook it. Especially now, with the constant onslaught of news distorting our perception into believing that humans are heinous creatures. Even through the cynicism and all the sadness in the world, I refuse to believe this is true. We are, after all, largely societal creatures who have literally evolved to nourish and look after each other.

Day two of Jeewan Jal started with the conversation of how community is interlinked with care or compassion. We continued our conversation about what makes a good team.

We played a trust game where half the team was blind, and the other half had to lead them slowly, gently before we switched roles.This lead us to talk about co-dependence, responsibility and of course, trust.

We played games where we one member of our team had to non-verbally set a scene of community and then of care in community using the other members. We took turns setting the scene and all of us tried to interpret the scene.

Self-care, Care for the environment, care for the elder, care for the younger, care for your friends/family, care for your children were some of the topics of care that came up.

This led to our first ever trip to Patan, we were divided into three groups and were guided by members of our team that knew the terrain and knew the culture well. We were to notice act of care in the community, we jotted notes, we learnt about different areas, we took pictures and most of all we observed and noticed, something that seemingly not everyone has the time for. We spent an hour in Patan and came back to our meeting place. After catching our breaths, we began with our discussion session.

This leads me to the opening question, how do people view the act of caring? Perhaps, If we hadn't been told to notice the acts of care, we would have missed the altogether. This point was raised a few times, as was how we noticed details, we noticed the care that went into making our heritages. Symbols and intricate carvings I'd never taken the time to notice, even though I have grown up with it.

We noticed care in more that one form, we noticed parents looking after their children, noticed sign boards preaching cleanliness, pride in our cultures, carefulness with our environment. We noticed Buddha's quotes, and women cooking. We noticed female friends holding hands, male friends holding hands. We noticed water and how it was treated. If the water body is deemed holy, then it is treated far better than 'normal' water bodies. We noticed all of this because we were told to noticed.

Yes, negligence is a huge issue in the developing world (as it is in the developed world). We are polluted and mismanaged but perhaps before we talk about systemic issues, we need to look at our daily lives and find hope.

After, we had our discussion session, we reassembled back in our teams and used clay to map out the places we've been to, map out the care we'd seen. It didn't have to be visually accurate, just accurate to our memories.

I find the act of playing and moulding clay very creative and therapeutic, it doesn't matter if I'm good or bad it that itself, for me, is an act of care and compassion towards myself. Thinking and making the map with clay in our teams was our way of showing respect and care towards the material, the process, and the experience.

It turns out, care and compassion are all around us. It turns out, we just have to look closely.

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