Reflections of India

The arts create a bridge between cultures.

Opera Ignite’s Founding Director, Christina Farrell traveled to Rajkot, India in October 2015 as a teaching artist with the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts. During the residency, the classroom teachers learned drama, music and movement skills to support their students’ academic and cognitive growth.

Christina blogged about her experiences as part of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s “India in Focus Festival.” Here are a few of the reflections from her journal. (To read more the full articles, visit Gateway to the Arts’ website.)

“My visit to India has taught me that significant change is possible when many individuals commit to action with a spirit of compassion and sincerity. The MANJUL children will continue to grow with the support of an extended family of teachers, parents, and dedicated community members. I’m proud to be one member of that family, and hope to share the lessons they’ve taught me.” – November 4, 2015

Most of the MANJUL parents did not receive a complete education themselves. But Malini explains, “They want to see their children grow up and do something better than what they are doing.” Malini knows that children often emulate what they see at home.” If the mother does menial household chores, then the daughter will take over the chores. But if she gets an education, then she will say, ‘No, Mom, I want to work in an office.’ I tell parents that education is the only thing which will take your child ahead in life.” – October 29, 2015

My first few days in Rajkot, India have been an amazing whirlwind of new things! As I sat down to reflect on my experience so far, I realized that I’m experiencing the world like a preschooler… Each day awakens the senses with unfamiliar sights, sounds, smells, tastes and sensations. I’m surrounded by unknown words and try to seek meaning through other clues. Sometimes my language is not adequate and I have to find innovative ways to communicate. I’m trying to grasp new ideas with which I have no personal experience. Nearly every experience involves some level of risk-taking, simply because it is new. I’m filled with wonder, curiosity and questions. – October 21, 2015

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Photos courtesy of Manjul Playhouse and Nursery

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