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  • jpreyss

    We could learn a thing or two

    By jpreyss in The Land of the Gods

    In the past several weeks, we’ve visited many schools and made presentations before the students. Beyond the architecture and the lack of air conditioning, they are surprisingly advanced in curriculum, I believe, compared to the United States. The students have ...

  • jpreyss

    Almost halfway there

    By jpreyss in The Land of the Gods

    It's our last night in Kottaym and we'll be departing for Allepy tomorrow morning. We've been in Kerala about two weeks; we're halfway through the trip. I've learned many things on this trip so far, and I'd like to share ...

  • jpreyss

    Orthodoxy and priests-to-be

    By jpreyss in The Land of the Gods

    Orthodox Christianity has always fascinated me. For Westerners, Christian orthodoxy – whether Greek, Indian or another branch – may not be as familiar as Roman Catholicism or Protestantism. Here in Kerala, the Indian Orthodox Church reigns supreme among Christians in ...

  • jpreyss

    His Holiness

    By jpreyss in The Land of the Gods

    Much preparation occurs when a group of American Rotarians are about to meet the supreme head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in Kottayam. Just before 9:30 a.m., our group was guided to an upstairs parlor where we were instructed ...

  • jpreyss

    Third stop: Kottayam

    By jpreyss in The Land of the Gods

    The sun is rising over Kottayam and I'm sitting on a rooftop terrace looking out into the gray. Hindu temples are singing songs of morning worship, punctuated by the sounds of crows singing in the coconut trees. We arrived yesterday ...

  • jpreyss

    Goodbye, Kollam

    By jpreyss in The Land of the Gods

    Saying goodbye is hard. But what do you say to a 12-year-old girl who greets you in the morning with a tearful, "Jenny, I'm leaving for school. Will I never see you again?" For me, I responded with an equally ...

  • jpreyss

    Did I really interview a guru?

    By jpreyss in The Land of the Gods

    Swami Brahma Sree Prakasananda I walked slowly down the dirt roads of the Sivagiri Temple compound, and my eyes began to water. “Did I just interview the leading holy guru in Kerala?” I was expecting to spend time with monks, ...

  • jpreyss

    Bridging the cultural gap

    By jpreyss in The Land of the Gods

    While staying in Kerala, each member of the Group Study Exchange is hosted by a family. I’m staying with two attorneys, Leena and KG Baiju, and their two children. Their daughter, Pavarthy, or Paru, 12, tells me daily how thrilled ...

  • jpreyss

    Noisy India

    By jpreyss in The Land of the Gods

    I never noticed how quiet Victoria is until traveling to India. At all hours of the day and night, birds crow, cars honk, Asian wind instruments echo through the city, Communist party dissenters and advocates drive through the streets and ...

  • jpreyss

    Ambassador of India, Texas

    By jpreyss in The Land of the Gods

    Yesterday, it hit me. I'm in India — as a Texas ambassador. We've been here three days now, and each day has challenged me physically, mentally and spiritually. We're not sleeping more than a few hours each night, and each ...

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