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A practiced hand paints a thanka. Photo by Cara Starnbach, North India Program.

Teachings With Ashish ji


After 3 days of workshop in Deer Park in a little town called Bir, I finally feel like sharing my thoughts on what we have learned.

Ashish, the facilitator, came up with two simulations to get us thinking about what it’s like to live in a rural context. The first one was about deciding roles for 1200 people living on an isolated island. The second was picturing this very same community and if we should decide to use machines in our work or not.

What we usually take as a primitive way of living, in fact we realized is a system very complex and collaborative based on some things.

The first is the perception that within a community, relationships are interdependent – in a way people develop a sense of family in order to survive.

The second is the value of self-reliance in which people have to collaborate in order to self-govern themselves, so they have to create rules and follow them.

Ashish helped us realize that mostly these two topics lead rural communities to a more sustainable life.

When reflecting about the influence of currency and machines in rural contexts which are mostly ideas that came with industrial development, we became aware of it’s insignificance in a community that works in harmony towards surviving.

To sum up, our experience in Deer Park made us reflect on the complexity of rural communities in a globalized world.

I feel like all this acquired knowledge makes me even more fulfilled about my role as a global citizen. Can’t wait to see what’s next!