Finding Community In Goa, India

Author: Mariza

8 September 2017

Seeing that this is my first word on India, afford me the opportunity to express my excitement, shock and amazement at this crazy, colourful place. It is a place like no other. Its people are many and its infrastructure is insufficient. Most roads are small and cars, trucks, scooters, tuk-tuks, all kinds of animals, pedestrians and buses weave their way from point A to point B with no set order or rules as to how this needs to happen. Honking is non-stop from every moving thing and absolutely essential for survival. Somehow everyone and everything get to where they want to be. The mind boggles. Chaos is a huge understatement.

India contains a vast array of people. Beautiful, interesting people.

The highlight of Goa was the incredible community we found and established while there. Deep, meaningful connections with people who were strangers just a week before. This was exactly what we were hoping for. The very reason we embarked on this adventure with our family.

The apartment we booked was in a total non-touristic area. A street full of families who have lived there for generations and who grew up right there where their grandchildren were now playing. What a privilege to be absorbed into this community. Our kids had a blast playing soccer and all sorts of games in the street. We took all the local kids with us to the beach and talked and talked and talked. Discovering, learning, drinking it in. And back in our street we got to know all the locals who live there. What a joy and a privilege.

Celebrating Aunty Peggy’s 66th birthday was very special. We were treated to cake and home made curries. These people CAN cook!! Yummo!! Every event is celebrated in this bright red family home at the end of Calvaddo Street.

We were very sad to say goodbye to our new friends. They have made their way deep into our hearts. We have, however, exchanged details and promised to keep in touch. How rich are we to have met them?!!

We went for walks and our daily morning runs on the long, sandy beaches. Shells, bright blue starfish and crabs of all colours and sizes are abundant. We swam, even though the beaches are “closed” for Monsoon season. All the beach shacks are closed too. Next month will be a very different story. Tourist season starts in October. I am so glad we’re missing that. We haven’t encountered a single tourist. Local is “lekker” (means nice in Afrikaans).

Fishing nets and boats make a pretty picture on the beaches. Every morning and late afternoon, these boats are manoeuvred into the surf by a sizeable team of men who take in and draw out the big nets. A fascinating process to watch. Hard manual labour, but they always seem happy enough with their catch.

The food has been great. Seeing that Grandpa Gordon’s favourite dish is Goan fish curry, we had it on a few occasions for him. My brand new favourite is a dry vegetable curry with butter roti. Delicious!!! I wake up in the morning craving this.

To say everything has been easy or clean or as expected would be dishonest. We’ve had to make some hard, deliberate choices. And we’ve had to carefully choose our attitudes at times. But it is so, so worth it. Uncomfortable, stretching, exhilarating and totally life changing.

I have a henna hand and a lovely ankle bracelet that jingles when I walk. I LOVE it! And a stunning orange sari. I feel beautifully Indian.

 

– Mariza –

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