K, this is a sidetrack from Eco Truly Park but I think hanging out with the people in my program is one of the coolest things about studying abroad! Cuz' very few of us would normally be friends I'm pretty sure. For example, I kind of fled the sorority scene and that was not an accident. And I've never been that stoked on girls that are very sexual and like to get lots of tattoos. Or guys that read/talk about the bible A LOT. Not that I would ever hate on these kinds of people, we just wouldn't normally gravitate towards being friends. But we are here, and I'm having so much fun! Especially with my roommate Camille, who is one of the easiest people to talk to about anything and everything, which we do.
So anyway, Eco Truly Park is a farm community of people that are part of the Hare Krishna movement and live in huts made of mud, called Truly's. They never miss an opportunity to talk about how and why everything they do is for the purpose of pleasing Hare Krishna, who wants everyone to live more natural, spiritual lives guided by the principle of unconditional love towards all that is living. Which sounds dandy.
But then there are other guiding principles, like cleanliness--when I went to volunteer in the kitchen, I had to rinse my mouth with water and be sure not to eat anything while I was cooking to avoid the 'boca sucia'--I guess the idea is your mouth can't be dirty because this is offensive to Hare Krishna? I don't really understand a lot of it, and I really agree with another volunteer that I got to know who took issue with how much authority plays into their religion. He was able to put in words something I had thought of as an issue with all religions, which is the whole 'obedience/feeling of indebtedness towards some higher authority.' I just think it shouldn't depend on the presence of some authority figure to get people interested in having good values. Plus, I don't like the idea that anyone can ever be objectively better than anyone else. I don't really think it's very 'loving' to encourage people to devote their (lesser) lives to a higher authority on the grounds that that's the most meaningful thing you can do with your life which is less than Krishnas', who knows objectively what is good.
So that was the Truly 'not what I was expecting' part about Eco Truly Park.
Plus, the yoga was really weird. We had to do this panting doggie breathing, look straight into the sun, hold hands and run along the beach, and I was temporarily suffocated by my instructor at one point after he whispered crazy sanskrit stuff that I didn't understand into my ear. And then there was temple! That was an experience--I've never seen so many old men so enthused, jumping around in circles, playing instruments, taking pictures like they were going to upload them onto facebook, all dancing to this 'Maha Mantra':
- Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
- Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
- Hare Rama Hare Rama
- Rama Rama Hare Hare
Yeah. But volunteering was really fun, and I met some other cool people volunteering there! Plus there was a chef that made BOMB alfajores.