Friday, October 8, 2010

Mehndi Magic at Odanadi

Odanadi is an organization based in Mysore, India, that aims to raise awareness about the difficult reality of sexual exploitation and human trafficking.  The founders of Odanadi rescue women and children from these situations and give them a safe place to live, recover, and discover their strength, talent and passions in a nurturing environment.  They provide ways for these survivors to express themselves through outlets like dance, yoga, karate, and art, but they also encourage them to become self sufficient and have meaningful human interactions by inviting visitors out to the center for event days that double as fundraisers.

Yesterday about ten ladies, including myself, were welcomed into the Odanadi center to experience Mehndi, the application of henna body art, and as we arrived, everyone was charmed by the children's immediate affection and 1000 watt smiles.

By the time we got settled down and the Mehndi process was underway, the younger children had crowded around to watch and play with anyone who was still waiting, and were especially excited by being allowed to borrow our cameras and take their own photos of all the action.  The older girls, who were creating our beautiful henna designs, showed a great deal of confidence and remarkable focus in a pretty chaotic situation. I have been visiting Odanadi twice a week to teach dance lessons, but many of my friends had never been there, and to see their reactions to the kids and the whole experience in general was really extraordinary. 


The group energy was off the charts and everyone left with immense gratitude for the opportunity to spend time with these incredibly strong women and children, and the beautiful body art that we will be able to admire for the next few weeks. 

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