Over the last three years I have made two teaching trips to South Asia.
In February and March, 2013, Jennie and I were in South India and Honk Kong. We begin our trip by having 5 days in Kerala, India to rest and recover from the long flight, and to see the sights of this magnificent seaside area with tremendously rich cultural and spiritual history.
After Kerala, we flew to Bangalore, where we spent a weekend working with the aclaimed Yours Truly Theatre Company, a group that both of us have mentored in Playback Theatre. We are proud to be invited back for further collaboration. That long weekend was focused on gender issues and the rising tide of violence against women in India, work that Yours Truly immediately turned into socially engaged theatre.
From there we traveled by train to Chennai where Jennie taught an Introduction to Art Therapy and a Core Training in Playback Theatre in the Expressive Therapies Certificate Program at the East/West Center for Counselling and Women’s Christian College. This is the second year of the program and she is happy to continue her long-standing collaboration with the Director, Magdalene Jeyarathnam. As well, they offered a short advanced Playback Theatre course and an Art for Healing course.
I taught a two-day course on Shamanism to a group of Chennai based healers and therapists. We co-lead a two evening workshop on Using the Arts for Social Change, and I led a two evening colloquium on The Arts and Healing. I also sat on an arts panel at the Chennai Hindu International Literary Festival. Both evening workshops took place at the Apparao Gallery. In addition to his formal work, I conducted a healing ceremony for students as well as worked with individuals. We both greatly enjoyed spending time with old and new friends.
After four weeks in India we boarded a plane and were off to Hong Kong, to work with the Arts for the Disabled Association. Jennie taught Expressive Arts for People with Disabilities, while I taught a Narrative based workshop titled, Re-storying Disability. Our two weeks in Hong Kong culminated with three days free to sight-see in that beautiful city. Again, we spend much welcomed time with friends, new and old.
In October 2010 I was invited to Bangalore to work with the Yours Truly Theatre Company. Following that, I was the guest of the World Storytelling Institute, and the National Folklife Support Center in Chennai. During my two weeks in Chennai I presented several public talks about contemporary issues in Native America from a Mixed Blood perspective, discussions of contemporary Native American approaches to healing, including the use of story, and a couple of evenings of storytelling.
When we travel we always learn much from those we meet and whom we teach. As always, we returned home changed by those we met. We are grateful to all those who made these trip possible.