The kids of Prashanthagiri loved having their photos taken. The idea of being able to see their picture right after it was taken would usual create big crowds around us during a shoot. I’ll always remember them shouting “Photo! Photo!” as we were walking up to them. Being able to take photos and share them was a great way to communicate with them, considering we could not speak Malayam!
Today was the first early morning we’d have for the ten days of production – and it was definitely early (for us college students)!
I got up at 4:00am to take my quick morning shower before running around the hotel banging on doors. Surprisingly, people were still up and ready to go at 4:30am. Makes my job much easier.
Our van ride through the Wayanad countryside brought us to Prashathagiri early so we could see it in a different light… literally. The sky was just barely starting to brighten as we arrived at the Profugo house. We quickly broke up into two different groups to try and run up the hill to get some different sunrise shots. A few of us hustled up to the church with the crane on hand, hoping to get a nice early morning crane shot of the village/sunrise. After Andrew and Amy lugged the heavy crane up the hill, we got to the top a little disappointed, as the mist/fog was not going to give us a clear shot of the sun rising, more of a gradual sky brightening shot.
Andrew climbed to the top of the unfinished church to get the best footage he could, while a few of us observed the early morning church session that was beginning. Their church services are Catholic, with a bit of a Hindu flair (seen through the Hindu portraits in the church).
The kids of the village were always very excited when a camera was out. They’d constantly shout “Photo! Photo!” and run away from their friends to try and get a solo shot of themselves. Even in all of the commotion, they made it very easy to get some good shots of them!
The rest of the day was dedicated to shooting some more B-Roll of things around the village. We did have one more interview with one of the English speaking residents, Jessy. Her interview was interested for a few different reasons.. Her life has brought her to many places in the State of Kerala, including a short stint as a Nun. She is the English Language School teacher for the kids of the village.
Lastly, we interviewed Gilgy. Gilgy is another resident of Prashathagiri and is in charge of the day to day operations of Profugo. He is known as their ‘handyman’ and takes care of any issues around the property. His life is similar to Abraham’s, where he considers himself a role model to many of the other men of the community – living an alcohol free life that is an example for his children.
Having only been in the country for two full days, I am amazed how much the community of Prashanthagiri has already opened up to our group. Their generosity and hospitality is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Even though these people are living a life that is riddled with serious economic issues, they literally throw whatever food or drinks that they have in their homes at us.
This is one of the major differences in cultures that we have experienced so far. In their culture, people invite others over for a meal and offer them food, tea, coffee, or whatever else they might have at the time. While in the US, you are expected to bring something to a dinner. Indians also rarely say words like “thank you” or “you’re welcome” not because they are ungrateful, but because people are expected to be nice to one another and live what many Americans learn as youth, the golden rule. It is a shame that people in the US have lost touch with the basic human responsibilities like caring for one another as if they are your brother or sister. Seeing how people live this way helps to shine some light on the hope of the situation they are in.
Tags: 4, Day 4, hope, india, prashanthagiri, social justice doc, wayanad