During our first week of arrival, Jessica, Maria and I decided to go to take a look around the village and the Harike temple in order to have a better understanding of our future place of living.
After a good walk where we saw some schools and the general stores necessary for our survival, we decided to go to the temple. Just before arriving at the temple, one man stopped us and tried to explain (it wasn’t easy to understand what he said J) that we needed to cover our heads in order to enter the temple. For the girls, it was not a problem because they had their scarves, but unfortunately for me, I had nothing to cover my head, so the man then asked me to follow him. When I started to walk with him, I was certain that he would give me a turban to wear on my head and I was really excited for that. However, when we arrived near a parked truck, he just took an orange scarf and put it on my head. My dream to wear a turban was crushed!!!
|Maria, Jessica and me in one of the temples of Harike|
Then with our covered head we were able to get in the temple and, as always, we had to take off our shoes and clean our feet before entering. When we got in, another man started to talk with us (again it wasn’t easy to understand what he saidJ) and he showed us all around the temple to the top, but the problem was to walk in a construction site (the temple was under restoration) without our shoes!
Once we reached the top, we enjoyed an amazing view of the city and of the wetlands for a few minutes. When we got back down to the ground floor there was another man waiting to give me what I thought were some kind of white stones; as it turned out, they were actually sweets (which I put in my pocket)! Then, just as we thought our visit was over, the man of the temple invited us outside for some dal and chapatti with other people. I was so full that I was about to explode!
All of this was for free, so we offered a donation and then I went back to the parked truck to give back my orange scarf. The temple caused a good impact on me because all the people that we met near the temple were really kind to us and despite the language barrier, I really felt accepted.
Anyway, this is our story of the first visit to the Harike temple and I think that it will be difficult to forget!
Tommaso Luvini - Italy
Microfinance Project Manager, Harike (Punjab)