WOMEN OF THE FISHING VILLAGES: While in Chennai we visited local coastal neighborhoods (or villages): Nochhikuppam and Ayodhakuppam.   These communities, like many along the Eastern seaboard were hard hit by the Tsunami several years ago where tens of thousands lost their lives. They’ve rebuilt again and though the government is hard pressed to relocate these communities, this life of fishing is all they know and to remove them from this environment would equally devastate their culture and livelihood.  This community is where one of the presenting Oppari Women groups resides.

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GETTING FRESH (FRUIT)! A little shopping for fresh fruit. Yummy tangerines!  Very sweet.  Shown here (left to right) are: local tamil teller and host Jeeva Raghunath, and storytelling adventurers: Sheila Wilgus, Liz Nichols, Nancy Wang, Lynn Ruehlman.

IN THE PRESENCE OF GODS & GODDESSES: The temples were ornately decorated with a myriad of the Hindu Pantheon.  This journey to India has been an introduction to the immensity of Indian mythology, made even more complex by the multiple names the deities can have.  At this temple, each god and goddess depicted were hand painted in a colorful array which needs to repainted every several years.  Esther, one of our Tamil interpreters puts on traditional ash upon the forehead of our visiting storytellers.

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